In Where in the Devil…? I wrote of my correspondence with New Directions regarding a translation they were rumored to have been working on. The representative couldn’t tell me the translator’s name, but stated that “this person pulled out due to the exasperating effort and time it would take to translate this work.”
The following quote is taken from an interview with Gregory Rabassa for the magazine Americas. Volume: 57. Issue: 5, Gregory Rabassa: Words of Instinct: This Veteran Translator of the Most Celebrated Latin American Authors Continues to Open Fresh Perspectives on Contemporary Works:
“I have agreed to do Guimaraes Rosa’s Grande Sertao: Veredas for New Directions. They have the English-language publishing rights. It’s a damn good book. Some have said it’s the best contemporary Latin American novel of them all, but it’s hard. The American version, The Devil to Pay in the Backlands, is a travesty. Can you imagine such a title!”
The even greater travesty is that Rabassa didn’t complete the translation.
I also learned that once New Directions lost Rabassa, Knopf picked up the rights, and that by the time I was corresponding with New Directions regarding the matter, Knopf had in turn lost the rights. I was directed to Mr. Tom Colchie.