I m on the translated fiction blog from booktrust

A little late but I tell all about my adventure to london for the Independent foreign fiction prize at the RIBA ,over at Booktrust’s translated fiction blog  .

here it is 

Waugh Wednesday – does a racist word need to be changed in the modern age

Well the latest Waugh story I read Multa Pencunia ,another of Waugh’s junior stories written when he was 9 ,a story about sir Alfred that had brought a unusual book with the same title as the story ,that disappears now when the book is discovered to have Gone missing Tom sir Alfred’s son says –

Jumping Golliwogs  cried Tom 

Now I was taken aback as Golliwogs a word that hasn’t been in usage in Britain since the mid seventies ,it was the name of a black rag doll in the 1800’s ,also was on a famous brand of Jam in the uk until the 1980’s when a campaign got it removed from the jar .I dislike this word it is such a derogatory term and needs putting in a dictionary of words never to be used and thrown in a deep hole so a question should it be changed ? to say golly gosh  .I can partly forgive Waugh as it was used more in his times ,but would he want it used now or would he have edited it and change it ? do we accept a writer using racist words due to their time of writing or take a sharp breath and  change these words ? .I don’t know but what is your view ?

Hidden Camera by Zoran Zivkovic

Source – Library

Translator Alice-copple Toskic

Zoran Zivkovic is a Serbian writer ,he qualified in literary theory from Belgrade university ,soon after started publishing stories in magazines ,then in the mid 1980’s set up Yugoslavia’s first private publishing house Polaris ,he has present TV programmes on sci-fi in his homeland.and wrote a two volume encyclopaedia about sci-fi as well .he has published twenty books over the last thirty years .

Hidden camera was published in 2003 ,it focus on an unnamed undertaker ,this man is a bit OCD with a highly ordered life a neat flat and life .So one day a letter drops on his floor his is invited to a film premier ,so he debates whether to go to this mysterious film ,in the end decides to and is shocked to discover that he himself is the star of this film shot of him sat on a park bench like he does every day ,slightly dismayed he goes on with his every day life ,next he is in a bookshop and finds a book on his life after another invitation .This makes him think he is an unwitting star of a tv show ,so he starts to wonder what he does and who is real and who has been placed in for   him to interact with .This leads into a confusing life for the once perfect life of the undertaker .

The scene finally came to life again ,The figure of a small middle-aged man appeared from the right ,He was wearing a dark suit, white shirt, and black tie ,He also moved in slow motion,but unlike the women with the dog his steps were some what awkward ,almost grotesque .He went up to the bench ,sat at the end next to the streetlights , took off his jacket and draped it across the back of the bench ,Then he opened he book he had brought and settled down to read ,Sitting there without moving ,He appeared fused with the bench.

I watched for a good half minute before the realization finally hit me like a flash .

The undertaker realizes he is the star of the film he has been invited too .

Now I like this book it has classic touches an unnamed narrator remind me of Kafka ,in fact a lot of the early part of the book did a man thrown into a surreal world not knowing how he got there ,the undertakers conclusion that he was on a reality TV show shows how powerful this type of tv has become in some people’s lives and thew fact we could all be unwitting stars in a tv show .Zoran makes you wonder on the boundaries of what is real or not ,like the Film the Truman show it doesn’t take a lot for your life to unwind when you find out you’re a unwitting star of the show .I’m sure this is also some comment on the past communist society where as we see in films like the lives of others every one was watching one another .You are left with a sense of who too trust , Alice Toskic did a great job on the translation . this book is part of Dalkey archives eastern European literature series .

June round up – half year round up and July plans

Well I m a bit late doing this ,but this is due to my darling wife needing a minor op over the weekend so time for blogging has been none unfortunately ,but did read some books as I was waiting with her .so June I managed to get through ten books last month with a few on go as well  so the books are –

  1. beauty and the inferno by Roberto Saviano (italy)
  2. The skating rink by Roberto Bolano (chile)
  3. The new Moscow philosophy by Vyacheslaw Pyetdukh (Russia)
  4. As though she were sleeping by Elias Khoury (Lebanon)
  5. Antipodes by Ignacio Padilla (Mexico)
  6. Lizkla and her men by Alexander Ikonnikov (Russia)
  7. Please look after mother by Kyung-Sook Shin(South Korea)
  8. Hear the wind sing by Haruki Murakami(Japan)
  9. Waiting for the wild beasts to vote by Ahmadou Kourouma(Ivory Coast)
  10. Hidden camera by Zoran Zivkovic(Serbia ) -started in may finished today but due at library so put in june’s total

So that is it nine countries read and to be truthful hard to pick a favourite this month as they were all good in their own ways but I ll say the beauty and the inferno is a book we should all read .As for the state of the blog I m trying to get regular post’s and finding it harder this year need to find my mojo again .

Total so far for the year is 64 the same as June last year so still on course to match last years total as I read more in summer any way like reading in natural light easier on my eyes .

Half year –

Well I ve read books from 26 countries so far this year which keeps up the Idea behind Winston’s dad bring the world through the everyman ,I ve had a number of great interviews so far this year this is something I m going to carry on doing mainly round translation .I m worried I ve lost some consistency with posting this is due to my poor time management I need to work on this as I ve a huge pile of unreview books backing up ,I feel my posts are getting slightly better I ll never be a star but I m trying to make them more than earlier reviews .so if you’ve any thought tell me .thanks for following my blog .

July’s plans –

Well I m going to read a number of english , american  and ANZ fiction books in July and August .I ve books I brought piling up and a few I ve been sent ,some I think will be in Booker long list due in three weeks ,plus want to read USA by John Dos Passos to give me time to catch up on reviews at well over a 1000 pages it will take me two weeks time to catch up I think .

What are your plans ?


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July 2011


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