September 30th 2011 is International Translation Day at the Free Word Centre. Join English PEN and other translation organisations for a packed programme of events focusing on literary translation.
Venue: Free Word Centre, 60 Farringdon Road, EC1R 3GA
Tickets: Full day entry £20; £10 concessions, including light lunch and refreshments.
How to Book: Call 020 7324 2570 or book online at www.freewordonline.com (booking availble soon)
Last year’s International Translation Day included a live translation slam with translators from the Spanish Margaret Jull Costa and Nick Caistor. You can read their reflections on the event here.
Wonderful news for all devotees of translated fiction: independent publisher Gallic Books is to open a new bookshop on Ebury Street, SW1, that will specialize in translated fiction and stocking the books of fellow independent publishers:
(From the press release): Aiming to be very much a local bookshop, Belgravia Books will offer services such as home and workplace delivery, an interactive website, free teas and coffees and a vigorous events programme with reading groups and involvement with schools a key focus. They also aim to hold book launches, discussions, children’s readings, workshops and author signing evenings. Ironically, one of the opening discussions will be entitled ‘The Death of the Bookshop’.
Belgravia Books will continue Gallic’s close relationship with the Big Green Bookshop in Wood Green, offering its customers collection either from Ebury Street or Wood Green, and will run events in conjunction with Big Green.
Jane Aitken, Founder and MD of Gallic Books says:
‘We are so excited to be realising our long-held dream of opening a bookshop. We want Belgravia Books to become an integral and active part of the local community, and the Big Green Bookshop, itself a model of local bookselling, has been more than generous in sharing ideas with us. We also have the benefit of the combined skill and expertise of Operations Director, Alison Savage and Head of Sales, Guy Ramage, both former Borders managers, to help guide our way. Alison Savage, will take on the role of Belgravia Books Manager.’
Another publishing relationship that will cross from Gallic to Belgravia is the tie-in with the Bookswarm family of websites, including online magazine Bookhugger. Belgravia Books will promote books featured on the websites and provide customers with reviews supplied by Bookgeeks.
Belgravia Books will open on the 26th September 2011. There will be numbered signed special editions of The Elegance of the Hedgehog for the first 30 customers to visit the store at 51 Ebury Street, London SW1.
We wish them all the luck in the world . . .
Last week saw the enthralling three day run of Gondolas, Thunderstorm and Late September read from Cees Nooteboom’s first collection of short stories, The Foxes Come At Night, on BBC Radio 4 Afternoon Reading. All three can still be heard however, Gondolas will only be available until the end of the day and the other two expire tomorrow and on Wednesday respectively.
Author Alberto Manguel’s incisive review of The Foxes Come At Night, in the Guardian is full of intelligent observation and is well worth reading in its entirety:
“Nooteboom is not interested in the contented roundness of a plot, in the rehashing of commonplaces, in facile wordplay. Nooteboom’s stories have a particular brand of form and clarity, demanding our persistent attention, in the sense that Simone Weil meant when she spoke of culture as ‘the development of attention’. Nooteboom forces his readers to reflect on what is being said, and to take up their part in the work: for him, literature is a collaborative effort. The Foxes Come at Night is a full-bodied meditation on the end of things … All the pieces show the author as observer: of landscapes, of the weather, of uneasy human activity, of slow places such as Venice, Minorca and Sardinia, of slow Mediterranean coastlines where history itself is old, of remembered individuals in the flesh and in the insidious memory of photographs.”
And staunch champion of MacLehose Press, Eileen Battersby, has reviewed The Foxes Come At Night for the Irish Times:
“The title alone beguiles, never mind that the author is the Dutch original Cees Nooteboom … This philosophical book characteristically defies the rules and is concerned with variations on the theme of death and dying. But it is not depressing; Nooteboom possesses a wry sensitivity and looks at life with an instinctive jauntiness … A tone of gentle irony ebbs and flows through the work … Nooteboom is a writer who consistently bends fiction into a dense, fluid and innovative discourse. Even at his most profound he retains humour that moves between the deadpan and the discreetly outrageous.”
And Last week’s edition of the TLS featured three MacLehose Press titles, each one as brilliant as the next:
The Foxes Come At Night:
“Composed and connected with an emphasis on theme rather than plot – each one an eddy of memory revolving and rippling with thoughts of past loves and inexorable deaths. There is resistance here to the demands of the short story … little reliance on drama, compression or intensification. Ina Rilke’s translation is nimble and fluid throughout. ”
Child Wonder by Roy Jacobsen:
“The first sentence from Finn’s perspective, is characteristic of a narrative that smoothly blends the ominous and the mundane. Child Wonder is set in a cramped, impoverished, but vigorous working-class community – people on the brink of the big social journey that would turn the Norwegian population into the envied noveau riche of a solid social democratic welfare state … This is also very much a novel about the 1960s … Most of all Child Wonder is an exquisite exploration of childhood, a topic Jacobsen addresses with refreshing unsentimentality: it becomes at once a nightmare and intensely beautiful … What is most moving about Jacobsen’s novel in the end is the sense it gives us of the personal loss that follows in the wake of large-scale economic progress … The effect is a little like Finn’s newly discovered analogy of social injustice, hitting you with the force of a goods train; this is the kind of novel that never leaves you.”
And Treblinka by Chil Rajchman:
“Purely for its historical coverage, the translation from Yiddish of a rare book-length account of the camp is welcome. But Rajchman’s minimalist stye is also highly effective. He does not adopt the spurious neutrality of pure description, but he does not proffer moral didactics either. Unadorned prose describes the colossal everyday brutality required for the effective running of the machinery of destruction. The relentlessness of murder is replicated in the telling, making this one of the very darkest Holocaust memoirs.”
Abroad the Wall Street Journal casts their eyes on Roberto Saviano’s latest book Beauty and the Inferno:
“The ‘beauty’ in the title of Mr Saviano’s new book refers to everything that stands in opposition to the Camorra. Hence there are essays on the toe-to-toe bravery of boxing’s honorable code, the sacrifices made by soccer players and jazz musicians in the search for excellence and the humanity dredged up by favorite writers like Michael Herr and William T. Vollmann in the most unlikely places. The ‘inferno’ is many things for Mr Saviano, but most of all it is the cooped-up life he has been forced to live, while the members of the Camorra who hounded him into hiding continue to break the law with impunity. It is hard-hitting stuff … Under extreme circumstances writing has become more than just a livelihood for Mr. Saviano; it has become a way of existing.”
& The Forward Newspaper reports on Saviano’s essay on Isaac Bashevis Singer in Beauty and the Inferno:
“Saviano’s appreciation of Singer suggests that he agrees with Elie Wiesel and Primo Levi, whom he lauds in another essay for being able to forgive humanity for their sufferings, even if they may not have forgiven their main persecutors.”
Until Thy Wrath Be Past by Åsa Larsson continues to thrill in this review on Tangled Web:
“The plot is only one aspect of the whole which is skillfully presented. The descriptions of the landscape where the action is placed are vivid and enlightening. The encountering of the animals in the story, especially the dogs, is hugely enjoyable. For those who have not read Larsson before, and indeed for those who may have already had the pleasure, this book is a treat not to be missed.”
And this year’s sleeper success, The Sickness, by Alberto Barrera Tyszka was reviewed in the Independent on Sunday:
“…a slender but powerful premise: it is the story of a son who has to tell his father that the older man is dying … Meanwhile, he is being stalked by a hypochondriac … Tyszka pulls these two strands together well, and tempers the emotionalism of his tale with philosophical contributions.”
The delightful Dizzy C has posted a review of Love Virtually on her blog Dizzy C’s Little Book Blog. She gives Love Virtually 4.5 out of 5 but what’s striking are the comments her review elicits. Looks like we have an extremely keen readership out there, which is immensely encouraging:
“I loved this story right from the outset. I was expecting some narrative but it was necessary and worked very well in email format. I loved the characters and cared about them. I was totally absorbed in their, often stormy, affair. Fantastic read!”
And we end today’s round-up with a look to the future as Front Row reviewer, Jeff Park, informs us that that he intends to include Ashes, the first book in a gritty new crime series set in Athens by Sergios Gakas, in his ‘first in a series’ crime round-up this coming Thursday. Best keep your peepers peeled and your ears tuned for more up-dates during the week.
The consistently excellent Arabic Literature (In English) blog very kindly featured our interview with Humphrey Davies last week, so now we will return the favour.
Ms Qualey yesterday posted a continuation to her Rules for Translation series, which included the sage advice of Alison Anderson, who published her translation of Claudie Gallay’s The Breakers with us this January, and will publish two further translations from the French with us next year
The last set of Rules for Translation invoked the wisdom of the aforementioned Mr Davies.
Read on at Arabic Literature (In English) . . .
A really interesting article here on Jeremy Chambers, printed in The Australian when The Vintage and the Gleaning was published in Australia last year:
It began in darkness. As Jeremy Chambers lay in bed, too weak to read or write, voices and images, stories from a decade earlier flooded his memory.
“They were all very vivid, very detailed,” he says. “I was almost assaulted by them.”
From 2000 until 2005, Chambers was bedridden with chronic fatigue syndrome and suffering from photophobia. “I was so weak, but my mind was just churning away,” he says, sitting in the courtyard of the Standard Hotel in the inner Melbourne suburb of Fitzroy. “It was a bit of nostalgia. I was remembering being quite strong and being able to work a full day.” Not one to rush his thoughts, Chambers pauses for a moment longer than usual. “And the sun,” he says.
Read more on The Australian website . . .