Edited by Cecilia Alvstad, Annjo K. Greenall, Hanne Jansen and Kristiina Taivalkoski-Shilov
[Benjamins Translation Library 137] 2017
► pp. 61–79
The Cuban-American author Cecilia Samartin’s books became huge bestsellers, although exclusively in Norway and in translation into Norwegian. This chapter explores the agency surrounding this unusual case of a so-called bestseller-in-translation, with particular attention to the popular-fiction novels Drømmehjerte (2008b, orig. Ghost Heart, 2004) and Doña Maria (2012a). Both novels tell Cuban stories, although imbued with perspectives from the anti-Castro discourse of the Cuban diaspora. I suggest that a fortunate combination of thematic timing, unconventional publishing strategies, and the author’s physical presence and active communication with readers in Norway helps explain Samartin’s popularity among this readership. The activities of a few agents – particularly the publisher – were crucial for Samartin’s success. I argue that the publisher’s agency conditioned how Samartin, an American of Cuban background, became a Cuban voice in Norway.