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Smoking With Toshiya A. Kamei

(Read the Story) September 15, 2005

Edgar Omar Avilés

Art by Marty D. Ison

From translating this wonderful story, what have you learned about God’s fear and God’s law?

It’s not easy to be the Creator of all things.

What is lost in a translation?—what is gained?

What I hope to gain is a new audience—new readers who don’t read the source language.

How can a translator be sure that he/she got it right?

I can’t speak for others, but there is no such a thing as a perfect translation. I tend to obsess over a sentence or even a word. I keep making small changes even after my translation is accepted for publication.

Tell us about Edgar Omar Avilés.

He’s one of the young promising writers working in Spanish. I’m happy to be the first one to introduce his work to English-speaking readers.

And you, Toshiya, what can you tell us about yourself and how you came to translate this story?

I’m at the beginning of my translating career. I translated “The Law” because I loved it. As a rule, I translate what I enjoy as a reader.


Toshiya Kamei holds an MFA in Literary Translation from the University of Arkansas. His translations include Liliana Blum’s The Curse of Eve and Other Stories (2008), Naoko Awa’s The Fox’s Window and Other Stories (2010), Espido Freire’s Irlanda (2011), and Selfa Chew’s Silent Herons (2012). Other translations have appeared in The Global Game (2008), Sudden Fiction Latino (2010), and My Mother She Killed Me, My Father He Ate Me (2010).

About the Author

Edgar Omar Avilés was born in Morelia, Michoacán, México, on May 22, 1980. He studied Hispanic literature at the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México. His stories have appeared in literary journals and anthologies, including Los Mejores Cuentos Mexicanos 2004 (Joaquín Mortiz) and Novísimos Cuentos de la República Mexicana (Tierra Adentro, 2005).

About the Artist

A native of Ohio, Marty D. Ison lives with his wife transplanted in the sands of the Gulf of Mexico. He studied fine arts at Saint Petersburg College. In addition to the visual arts, he writes poetry, short stories, and novels. See more of Ison’s work here.

This interview appeared in Issue Ten of SmokeLong Quarterly.
SmokeLong Quarterly Issue Ten

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