Part of what I enjoy about Kafka and Can Xue is that I don’t get a sense from within their work that it desires to be read in a certain way. It’s wide open. To a certain extent, it doesn’t care. Clarice Lispector’s stories have something of this as well. ‘A Hope’ is a pithy little pun of a tale, playing on the fact that, in Portuguese, ‘uma esperança’ means both ‘a hope’ and ‘a cricket’, as in the spindly green creature. Lispector’s playfulness and Katrina Dodson’s artful translation bring to life all kinds of ideas, without ever losing sight of what it is to be a person among these theoretical shapes. If this were a desert island anthology, I think I’d be glad of that.
This translation was first published in The Complete Stories, London: Penguin Classics, 2015.