Affections, by Rodrigo Hasbún. In conversation with Esther Allen. Translated by Sophie Hughes




"In Affections, a family elegy is woven into an epitaph for the radical politics of South America and the result is an act of literary hypnosis you won't soon forget." —Adam Haslett, bestselling author of Imagine Me Gone

“Dark, deep, disturbing. No concessions, no sweeteners: here everything hurts. Through this ably crafted family saga, Hasbún manages to explore the permanent conflicts and contradictions of a whole nation.”

—Andrés Neuman, author of Travel of the Century

"Concise yet wild, haunting yet exuberantly full of life, Rodrigo Hasbún's Affections achieves all sorts of artful, intoxicating contradictions. What a gloriously unpredictable book." —Idra Novey, author of Ways to Disappear

"It's hard to decide which character is more fascinating in Hasbún's masterful blend of history and fiction about a German family living in La Paz in the decades after the war. As the quick-paced narrative covers from the search for a lost city in the Amazon to the brutal guerrillas in the Bolivian jungle, the inner lives of each family member build up to enormous emotional payoff. This is sharp storytelling, both in the political and intimate fronts." —Daniel Galera, author of Blood-Drenched Beard

“A dark, stunning novel, Affections is charged by a brilliant kaleidoscope of perspectives, the voices of exiles. . . . Hasbún has spun a tale of displacement, of political turmoil, in which the characters’ motives are as complicated as the Bolivian jungle they explore. It’s a fascinating book."  —Lynne Tillman, author of American Genius, A Comedy

Affections is a masterpiece, its spare mosaic narrative mesmerizes and brilliantly explodes in the reader's imagination like slow fireworks that will never fade. With its Chekovian emotional intimacy, the razor sharp and tragic political insight of a Coetzee or Bolaño, the seamless enchantment of a Dinesen tale, this novel feels timeless.”  —Francisco Goldman, author of Say Her Name


 Rodrigo Hasbún is a Bolivian novelist living and working in Texas. In 2007 he was selected by the Hay Festival as one of the Bogotá 39, and in 2010 he was chosen as one of Granta's Twenty-Two Best Spanish writers under the age of 35. He is the author of one previous novel and a collection of short stories. His work recently appeared in the Latin American issue of McSweeney's, edited by Daniel Galera, and Words Without Borders.


Esther Allen is a writer and translator. An Associate Professor in the Hispanic and Luso-Brazilian and  French Ph.D. programs at the CUNY Graduate Center and at  Baruch College (CUNY), she is a two-time recipient of National Endowment for the Arts Translation Fellowships(1995 and 2010) and was a 2009-2010 Fellow at the Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers at the New York Public Library. In 2014-2015, she was a Biography Fellow at the Leon Levy Center for Biography, working on a biography of José Martí now under contract with Henry Holt & Co. She co-founded the PEN World Voices Festival in 2005, and guided the work of the PEN/Heim Translation Fund from its inception in 2003 to 2010. In 2006, the French government named her a Chevalier de l’ordre des arts et des lettres. In 2012 she received the Feliks Gross Award from the CUNY Academy for the Arts and Sciences. She heads the Development Committee of the American Literary Translators Association, and serves on the board of  Writers Omi, on the Advisory Council to the Spanish-language program at the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism, and on the Selection Committee for the French Voices translation subvention program of the Services culturels français.




Event date: 

Tuesday, September 19, 2017 - 7:30pm to 9:00pm

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