Suspend Your Disbelief

Posts Tagged ‘translation’

Shop Talk |

The Wonder of translation

Translation gives those of us who are not linguistic polymaths access to the great books being written all over the planet. A good translation doesn’t simply convey the story being told – it pays attention to original voice of the author, picking up on nuance and subtleties. The judges of the 2010 PEN Translation Prize found just those shades of meaning in Michael Henry Heim’s translation from the Dutch of Hugo Claus’s Wonder (Archipelago Books). They write: Michael Henry Heim’s outstanding translation has succeeded masterfully in mirroring Hugo Claus’s many voices in this novel that reflects a complex, complicated vision […]

Reviews |

The Museum of Innocence, by Orhan Pamuk

Like most of us, Orhan Pamuk’s narrator Kemal rushes through his happiest moments in a preoccupied haze, only appreciating them in hindsight. A true materialist, he seeks to recreate them through his collections of mementos large and small, iconic and insignificant. His “museum” in The Museum of Innocence (Knopf, 2009) is a diorama not only of Kemal’s own nostalgia, but of Turkey itself in the late 1970s.

Essays |

Magic and Music Steer this Vessel: On Jorge Luis Borges’s This Craft of Verse

In This Craft of Verse, Jorge Luis Borges’s collected Norton Lectures, Borges diverges–with sparkling erudition–from conventional forms, offering lectures that are not arguments, but gentle provocations. Remarkably, these visionary pieces were composed at a time when Borges was nearly blind. By this time, as editor Calin-Andrei Mihailescu writes in the book’s postscript, Borges could see “nothing more than an amorphous field of yellow.” We quickly learn, however, that his mind’s eye was as sharp and discerning as ever.

Shop Talk |

impulse buy: Gourmet Rhaposdy by Muriel Barbery

On Thursday I emerged from a fog of editing work and serious reading in need of a pick-me-up, so I headed to Borders, hoping to get my hands on that much-hyped smeary deliciousness known as “Me and Mrs. Palin.” Alas — it’s in the October, not September, issue of Vanity Fair, and since I’m no longer a New Yorker, I’ll have to wait until Sept. 8 to buy a copy. To assuage my (embarrassing) disappointment, I reminded myself that I was in a bookstore, a struggling one at that. Never mind the towering to-read pile of books on my nightstand: […]

Reviews |

Doghead, by Morten Ramsland

Hundehoved. See, it sounds a little more haunted, a little more rhythmic, a little more intense in Danish. But the English “Doghead” sounds good, too: blunt and pragmatic, both mysterious and common as dirt. Come to think of it, mystery and the commonplace both pervade Doghead(Thomas Dunne Books, 2009, trans. Tiina Nunnally), a Scandinavian saga obsessed with the convoluted telling of what goes awry in the gnarled branches of the Erikkson family tree.

Shop Talk |

Independent Foreign Fiction Prize longlist / call for reviews

This £10,000 prize will be awarded in May by Arts Council England (with Champagne Tattinger). Here, as listed on The Bookseller, are the longlisted books, whose English translations each published in the UK in 2008. The shortlist will be announced on April 1, 2009. My Father’s Wives by Jose Eduardo Agualusa, translated by Daniel Hahn from the Portuguese (Arcadia) The Director by Alexander Ahndoril, translated by Sarah Death from the Swedish (Portobello) Voice Over by Celine Curiol, translated by Sam Richard from the French (Faber) The White King by Gyorgy Dragoman, translated by Paul Olchvary from the Hungarian (Doubleday) Night […]

Reviews |

Twenty Fragments of a Ravenous Youth, by Xiaolu Guo

In Twenty Fragments of a Ravenous Youth, the most sharply drawn, most enticing character is contemporary Beijing itself, its “cramped side streets where the walls were like the scales of fish–tall shelves tightly packed with pirated discs.” The city and the promise behind it sparkle in Guo’s descriptions, which are sharp, fresh, and free of clichéd exoticism.