Empty Set was voted best book of last year by The Wild Detectives staff, friends and collaborators… in its Spanish edition! Meaning that almost every Spanish speaker who read it agreed to chose it as its favorite pick. So you can all imagine how happy we are to have Verónica back to present the English translation of Conjunto Vacío (Empty Set). Not just that, Christina MacSweeney –mythic literary translator who’s rendered the English versions of Spanish-language books by authors such as Valeria Luiselli or Daniel Saldaña-París, and who’s also translated this book– will join her in conversation to discuss the novel and their creative process together.
In Empty Set, a Venn diagram for love, Bicecci’s narrator traces and reconstructs her relationships using geometry, ice cores, and tree rings. How do you draw an affair? A family? Can a Venn diagram show the ways overlaps turn into absences? Can tree rings tell us what happens when mothers leave? Can we fall in love according to the hop-skip of an acrostic? Empty Set is a novel of patterns, its young narrator’s attempt at making sense of inevitable loss, tracing her way forward in loops, triangles, and broken lines.
“Bicecci’s debut novel concerns itself with time, disappearance, Venn diagrams, and the circularity of the universe. (…) Within the deliberately fractured text, themes echo and time folds and unfolds. A spare, artfully constructed meditation on loss, both personal and national.”
– Kirkus Reviews
Verónica Gerber Bicecci is a visual artist who writes. In 2013 she was awarded the third Aura Estrada Prize for Literature. She is an editor with Tumbona Ediciones, a publishing cooperative with a catalog that explores the intersections between literature and art.
Christina MacSweeney was awarded the 2016 Valle Inclán Translation Prize for her translation of Valeria Luiselli’s The Story of My Teeth, and her translation of Daniel Saldaña París’s novel Among Strange Victims was a finalist for the 2017 Best Translated Book Award.