New faculty translation: Mark Schafer

Professor Mark Schafer’s translation of the Spanish author Belén Gopegui’s novel Quédate este día y esta noche conmigo came out on March 21. Under the title Stay this Day and Night With Me, the novel invites us to think about timely topics such as AI, robots, free will, merit, and the beauty and pain of being human.

Here’s the blurb for the book from the publisher, City Lights Books:

This is the story of Olga, a retired mathematician, and Mateo, a college student passionate about robotics, and their plot to influence Google.

After a chance encounter at the public library, two new friends begin to meet up regularly. Together they decide to submit an application for Google sponsorship to an elite technology-training program. Hoping to stand out, they frame their submission as a direct appeal to the “conscience” of the seemingly all-powerful corporation.

Olga, a retired entrepreneur, and Mateo, a college student, find unexpected connection and solace in their conversations. Ideas and arguments open into personal stories as they debate the possibility of free will, the existence of merit, and the role of artificial intelligence. They ask the most basic and important of questions: What does it mean to be human in a reality shaped by data and surveillance? Is there still space for empathy and care? What could we be, what could we build, if we used our resources in different ways?

Link to the online book launch, a bilingual reading with the author and a conversation about the book, moderated by translator Katherine Silver:

 Finally, a few great quotes about the translation:

 “This book has excited me more than any that I have read this year.”–Sam Sacks, Wall Street Journal

“This is a beautifully written, endlessly provocative meditation on humanity’s relationship to technology, monopoly, memory and fate.”– Dave Eggers, author of The Circle and The Every

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