Stories by María Ospina, translated by Heather Cleary
July 6, 2021 • 5 x 7.75 • 136 pages • 978-1-56689-610-8
A constellation of short stories illustrate the intersecting lives of women on various peripheries of society in and around Bogotá, Colombia.
In six subtly connected stories, Variations on the Body explores the obsessions, desires, and idiosyncrasies of women and girls from different strata of Colombian society. A former FARC guerilla fighter adjusts to urban life and faces the new violence of an editor co-opting her experiences. A woman adrift in the city she left as a child looks for someone to care for, even if it has to be by force, while another documents a flea infestation with a catalog of the marks on her flesh. A little girl copes with her anxiety about the adult world by exacting revenge on her nanny, who she thinks belongs to her. Combining humor, heartbreak, and unexpected violence, Ospina constructs a keen reflection on the body as a simultaneous vehicle of connection and alienation in vibrant, gleaming prose.
About the Author
María Ospina was born in Bogotá, Colombia, and teaches Latin American culture at Wesleyan University. She has written about memory, violence, and culture in contemporary Colombia. Her stories have appeared in anthologies in Colombia and Italy. Azares del cuerpo, her first book of fiction, has been published in Colombia, Chile, Spain, and Italy.
About the TranslatorHeather Cleary’s translations include Betina González’s American Delirium, Roque Larraquy’s Comemadre (nominee, National Book Award for Translated Literature 2018), and Sergio Chejfec’s The Planets (finalist, Best Translated Book Award 2013) and The Dark (nominee, National Translation Award 2014). A member of the Cedilla & Co. translation collective and a founding editor of the digital, bilingual Buenos Aires Review, she teaches at Sarah Lawrence College.
Praise for Variations on the Body
The Rumpus, “What to Read When You Want to Celebrate Women's History”
Book Riot, “Must-Read Books in Translation”
“María Ospina has created an artifact that's both luminous and dark, tender and cruel, whose inhabitants move in a shared space sculpted by violence—the narcoguerrilla and its tentacles. Within these pages, there shines a fine and beautiful diamond of sharp, fearsome faces.” —Carmen Boullosa
“Ospina is a remarkable talent, and Heather Cleary, an extraordinary translator. I love the offbeat, flea-bitten reality Variations on the Body captures: Marxist guerillas, stray dogs, dolls, vivid dreams. It’s as if Ospina has cut beautiful, odd scraps from our world using her own unique writer-made scissors.” —Camilla Grudova