Translated by Eleanor Chapman & Lucy Rand
IN ‘THE NEW JOB’, a naive and hopeful young girl crosses the border into German-speaking Switzerland for a job as an au-pair in a family that may be more sinister than it at first seems. IN ‘THE OWL’, an elderly lady rummages through her memory to work out what made her daughter so painfully distant. These stories, selected from Anna Ruchat’s Swiss Literature Prize-winning collection Gli anni di Nettuno sulla terra (Neptune’s Years on Earth), detail seemingly ordinary episodes in the lives of her characters and through them fascinatingly unravel decades of complex feelings and relationships. They float lightly upon the ebbs and flows of female relationships and leave the reader pondering what-could-have-beens versus what, inevitably, was.
Anna Ruchat is a multiple award-winning Swiss Italian poet, novelist and translator. Born in Zurich, she began her literary career as a translator from German, before making her debut as a writer with the short story collection In questa vita in 2004 (which won the Premio Chiara) and as a poet with the collection Geografia senza fiume in 2006. Since then, she has published a number of highly-acclaimed novels, short stories and poetry collections, and in 2019 won the Swiss Literature Prize with Gli anni di Nettuno sulla terra: Neptune’s Years on Earth, from which these stories are taken.
Eleanor Chapman is a translator and researcher based in Glasgow, UK. She translates from Italian and French, specialising in literary, narrative non-fiction and academic texts with a particular interest in feminist and postcolonial writing. She is currently an interdisciplinary PhD candidate at the University of Glasgow researching multilingual memory, minoritised languages and everyday translation in the context of rural displacement.
Lucy Rand is the +Svizra series editor as well as a literary translator, editor and teacher living in Norwich. She was shortlisted for the 2021 TA First Translation Prize for her translation from Italian of The Phone Box at the Edge of the World by Laura Imai Messina (Manilla Press), a novel about grief and healing in the wake of the 2011 tsunami in north-east Japan, which she translated while living in south-west Japan. She is the editor of Audrey, a new curated audiobook platform, and collaborates as a workshop leader in schools and universities with the Queens Translation Exchange and the Stephen Spender Trust.
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