The American Association of Teachers of Slavic and East European Studies presented the 2016 award for Best Translation into English to Kaija Straumanis for High Tide, her translation of Inga Abele’s Latvian novel Paisums (2008). The novel takes place over three decades, told in reserve chronological order from post-Communist Latvia through the time of the Awakening and back to the Communist period.
What impressed the judges about Kaija Straumanis’s translation is the lyrical quality of the lines. This is a novel that reads like poetry. Logic is given a long leash in a prose that is evocative and electric. Abele’s is a performative prose in which words call for one another, and Straumanis succeeds in finding the words that both issue and answer that call. But just as resonant as the language of the novel, is the depth of the emotions it portrays and elicits.
High Tide is published by Open Letter Pres, (Rochester, New York: 2013).