Cristina Sandu is a novelist with a unique relationship with her translator—in that, unlike most writers published in translation, she translated her own novel, in this case from Finnish to English. Sandu speaks six languages and currently lives in the UK. Her first novel, The Whale Called Goliath, was a sensation in Finland, winning the most prestigious literary award in the country.
The Union of Synchronized Swimmers is her new novel and her first to be published in English. In Finnish, it already won the Toisinkoinen Literary Prize, a prominent Finnish prize dedicated to second novels specifically. In Canada, it was released by Book*hug Press just last week.
Book*hug has shared a video of Sandu discussing the book, and the titular characters' experiencing of defecting from an unnamed Soviet country. Sandu's charmingly low-fi video and brief reading from the book is a fascinating peek into the process of writing, translating, and finding inspiration.
Thanks to Book*hug for sharing this video, and stay tuned to Open Book for an upcoming excerpt from The Union of Synchronized Swimmers.