By Athena Farrokhzad (Sweden)
Translated from the Swedish by Jennifer Hayashida
Athena Farrokhzad’s White Blight explores with unsparing brutality the distorted and “disfiguring” relation between memory and history, native and immigrant languages, parents and children. The mother who “let bleach run through her syntax,” also “put her barbarism” in her daughter’s mouth. Jennifer Hayashida’s startling translation is attentive to the distinct voices that shape the book’s intergenerational argument on diaspora, home and belonging. As a visual artist, she is also sensitive to the material properties of the book, the way the white English text moves within and pushes against black highlighted space, calling attention to what remains unwritten, “bleached out” between the white lines.