Benjamin Labatut, "When We Cease to Understand the World" (NYRB, 2021)

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An interview with Benjamín Labatut, author of When We Cease to Understand the World (2021), a New York Times Top Ten Book of the Year. Benjamin and I cover an enormous amount of ground in our wide-ranging interview: we touch on Heisenberg’s uncertainty principal as a way of his writing; the failure of our societies to make room for overlapping, sometimes contradictory histories; his distaste for genre categories; the inevitable loss involved in translation; Chile’s frightening presidential election; and much much more. I know that you will be as enthralled and challenged and delighted by Benjamín’s capacious mind.

Benjamín Recommends:

Chris Holmes is Chair of Literatures in English and Associate Professor at Ithaca College. He writes criticism on contemporary global literatures. His book, Kazuo Ishiguro as World Literature, is under contract with Bloomsbury Publishing. He is the co-director of The New Voices Festival, a celebration of work in poetry, prose, and playwriting by up-and-coming young writers.

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