Translated by Elena Pala
IN THIS TOUCHING tale, a Moroccan boy is left in the care of Elvezia, an elderly Swiss widow who lives in an alpine village in the Ticino mountains. Through his tender childhood and teenage years, the boy grapples with the various challenges of puberty and racism while supported by the loving relationship of his adoptive mother, Elvezia, Helvetia – Switzerland.
Alexandre Hmine was born in Lugano, Switzerland and has worked as a regional and national journalist and taught Italian in secondary schools since 2004. His debut novel La chiave nel latte (The Key in the Milk), from which this chapbook is excerpted, won the Studer/Ganz Prize in 2017 and the Swiss Literature Prize in 2019.
Elena Pala studied English and French literature at the University of Bologna and Trinity College Dublin. After a brief stint working in Paris, she moved to the UK for her MPhil in linguistics at Cambridge University, where she later completed her PhD in linguistics. In 2019 she obtained a DipTrans diploma for her main language pairs (Italian to English and vice versa), and later that year she attended the BCLT summer school. She first worked on Hmine’s La chiave nel latte together with her mentor Howard Curtis for the 2019–2020 edition of the NCW’s Emerging Translators Mentorship. Recent translations include The Hummingbird by Sandro Veronesi (W&N and HarperVia) and Down & Out in England and Italy by Alberto Prunetti (Scribe).
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