The Black spider by Jeremias Gotthelf A Halloween german lit month treat

the black spider

The Black Spider by Jeremias Gotthelf

German Gothic Fiction

Original title Die Schwarze spinne

Translator – H M Waidson

Source personnel copy

Jeremias Gotthelf was a swiss pastor and writer ,His actual name was Albert Bitzius ,he was educated in Bern wre he founded the second oldest Swiss fraternity ,before becoming a pastor and then in his thirties he took up writing .He used the Bernese countryside and his strong religious beliefs in his books .

Christine had been gleefully watching everything outside in the field .The sun might burn hot as she worked at the heavy labour ,but the spider hardly burned any more at all .

The devil made his mark  on her .

The book focus on the people in a Bernese village ,we start at a farm where a baptism is in full swing ,then we get an unbaptized baby that  is kissed by a hunter and this kiss cause a black mark to appear and she is touched by the devil this Christine .So there is now a pact between the village and the devil that leads to years and years of godless behaviour ,when at some point this falls apart a plague of spiders swarms around the village  and they now need god to come back and save them .That is the barest bones of this tale it is a real quest between good and evil between god and the devil in tit many faces .

Next to the church was the inn , for these two institutions so often stand close to one another , sharing joy and suffering together , and what is more , in all honour .

But are they hand in hand

Well that is it in part this book has a really twisted narrative style one could almost say it has an old testament feel to it selling pone soul to the devil and it having a bad outcome all sounds like the wrathful god of the old testament  .This at times seems like a Sunday sermon that he may have told round Halloween to scare the kids and adults into god fearing Christians ,But that said Robert Johnson was said to have sold his soul to the devil and he did make some great music ,.But we also get a feel of traditional Germanic folk tales with figure like the hunter and a knight appearing in the story ,also the selling of a soul to a devil has been a recurring motif in a lot of German fiction around this time and before even Faust for Example .Then there is also the way Gotthelf describes the village the church and the inn next to one another has a slight feel of temperance movement and is the godless behaviour connected to the drink .This has been a great read for Halloween one for a dark evening and a quick check to see if there isn’t a spider about to jump on me like Robert smith in the video .I read the Oneworld classic copy of this book with a 1958 translation ,I know NYRB classics has just issued a new translation which I hope to read and compare as I felt the choice of words and way the story unfold was a little stayed at times .

Have you a favourite Halloween read ?

 

Hello all, I ‘m back

Dad , Milly  and Myself

Well I have been off-line for over two weeks which I think is the longest break I have had since I started this blog .Now return after that time I find myself rather like a new starter feeling my way again ,I feel a slight lose of confidence ,but I have had a busy few weeks I found out my father had collapsed at home and need to have a pacemaker fitted ,this has played on my mind a lot recently and was actually the icing on the cake of 2013 that has leapt from one thing to another all year . But as you can all see from the updated books read in 2013 I have been reading as much if not more than normal as I have passed 100 books read for the fourth year in a row .I have found solace in my books ,they offer me a way to forget my own personnel woes and escape into another world ,I have also spent  time with Amanda and visiting my dad for the day as he lives quite far from me .So I return to the blog after all this looking forward to joining in German lit month but also with a real sense of wanting to clear my backlog of read books and transform them into reviews before time runs out on 2013 ,so 2014 can be an easier year with less catch up on my blogging  and in general as I feel 2013 has been a bad year for myself .So tomorrow I return with a review of Stoner by John Williams  ,a book which I have tossed and turned over how to review .I will be slowly commenting on everyone’s posst as I am now off work for ten days .

Nobel Prize for Literature 2013 is Alice Munro

Well it’s that time of year again when we stare into the world of Literature and try to guess the winner of Nobel prize it is like shooting minnows in a swimming pool many names mentioned this time the usual Nadas ,Murakami ,Djebar and Munro .New Names like Alexievich ,Fosse and Marias this year who knows the betting seems to point to Svetlana Alexievich as favourite a late run on Thoig’o and Djebar at this time half hour before this time Nobel have provide an Embedded feed here

Thanks for Lisa for heads up on this

The winner this year is Alice Munro The short story writer

Here is her Wikipedia page 

And a link to the short story the bear came over the mountain on new yorker here 

Crow Blue By Adriana Lisboa

Crow Blue image_med

Crow Blue by Adriana Lisboa

Brazilian Fiction

Original title – Azul-Corvo

Translator – Alison Entrekin

Source – Review copy

Well I’ve been saying for months on twitter Brazil is the next big thing world lit wise (no hard guess really with the worlds eyes turned there with world cup and Olympic games also they are the guest country at this year Frankfurt book fair ) so a new Brazilian novel to review and to add to the too few I have review on this blog is great and what a great novel Adriana Lisboa is one of the current stars of Brazilian Fiction and a piece by her was chosen as the challenge for this years young translator prize .Sh was born and raised in Rio spent time in France and the last six years living in the US She is also a vegetarian ,Buddhist and animal rights campaigner .

Lakewood , Colorado .A strange place .But its strangeness didn’t bother me , because the Denver suburb was , to me a , a stepping-stone .Something I was using to achieve an objective .A bridge , a ritual , a password that you utter before a door and wait for someone to open it .

Vanya arriving in the US to stop with Fernando .

So to crow blue the title has a duel meaning of both the crow blue shells of the beach in Rio and blue crows in the  US as this book follows its heroine Vanja ,her mother has died she is left with her stepfather and the go to live in the US ,But who was her real father ? This she wants to find out and how her father and mother meet ,but along the way she learns a lot more than she expected ,also a lot about Brazil’s darker past and the struggle for human rights that was fought under the last dictatorship in the country and the Araguaia guerrilla what they were fighting for and what happened to them  .Her stepfather has his own story to tell he was a guerilla at this time and a tough man.We also see through their eyes the toughness of living in the US as an immigrant and through the people they met along the way .Will she find this father and what does Vanya learn about her self along the way ?

The brazilian Armed Forces had five thousand men hunting a few dozen guerillas in the forest .By now they also knew that the communist were practising jungle survival techniques , learning to get their bearings from the sun , star and Landmarks .Learning to commando crawl in the forest ,to recognize edible fruit , to hunt .

The army gets trained to get the guerilla forces in the Jungles and forests .

I loved the pace of this book it felt just right Vanya and her stepfather are treading a path that many people from Latin america do trying to find a better life .I read an interview translated from Portuguese with Adriana about the book she said the characters aren’t based on actual people .But the settings are ones she knows well she grew up in and around  Rio and  currently lives in Colorado where the book is mostly set when they get  to the US to live .I found the feel of the two looking in at the rich american world when they got there the perfect house and Lawns  .I also really enjoyed  learning more about Brazil’s recent past and the Araguaia guerrillas and the war they fought in the seventies  a dark mark on Brazil’s recent past .I am slowly falling in love with the varied fiction of Brazil and Adriana Lisboa is another name II want to read more off .Have you a favourite Brazilian writer ?

Winner of Harvill secker Young Translator prize

young translator

HARVILL SECKER announces winner of 2013

prize for young translators

 

Lucy Greaves, who holds an MA in Literary Translation from the University of East Anglia, is the winner of the 2013 Harvill Secker Young Translators’ Prize.  Lucy attended the TimesCheltenham Literary Festival last night to accept the prize.  Receiving her award from Harvill Secker editor Ellie Steel, following a special translation slam event in honour of the prize, Lucy said: ‘I’m shocked and delighted to have been awarded the Harvill Secker Young Translators’ Prize. This was my first ever piece of literary translation from Portuguese, and I never imagined I’d win! I feel very fortunate to have this incredible opportunity to develop as a translator and I’m really looking forward to working with Margaret Jull Costa on the BCLT mentorship scheme.’

 

As the winner of the prize, Lucy Greaves receives £1000 and a selection of Harvill Secker titles.  She will also take part in a six-month mentorship scheme with translator and judge Margaret Jull Costa, in association with the British Centre for Literary Translation.   In November she will travel to The Hague to participate in The Chronicles programme, which brings together young authors and young translators as part of the Crossing Border Festival.

The chosen language for the 2013 prize was Portuguese and entrants were asked to translate ‘O sucesso’, a short story by Brazilian author Adriana Lisboa. The prize was judged by authorNaomi Alderman, translator Margaret Jull Costa, literary journalist Ángel GurríaQuintana and Harvill Secker editor Ellie Steel. This year’s runner-up is Annie McDermott.

The winning story is published online by Granta www.granta.com and will be available to read from Wednesday 9th October.

The judges commented: The field was very strong, and we were impressed by the imagination applied by all our entrants, and the variety of interesting ways in which they dealt with the mood and humour of the piece. Adriana’s wonderful story appears simple, but it presents various challenges which must be handled deftly by a translator. We chose Lucy’s translation for its elegant sentences and her perceptive capturing of the story’s youthful energy and coming-of-age spirit.’

There were a total of 92 entries from 9 countries: Brazil, Bulgaria, Italy, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Portugal, Spain, UK and USA.

Lucy Greaves lived and worked in Colombia, Peru, Chile and Switzerland before going on to study an MA in Literary Translation at the University of East Anglia. She now works as a freelance translator from Spanish, Portuguese and French, and she is based in Bristol, UK. When not translating, she teaches skiing.

Description: Description: BCLTlogoRGB.jpgPlease visitwww.harvillseckeryoungtranslatorsprize.com for more information.

THE AUTHOR

Adriana Lisboa

Adriana Lisboa was born in Rio de Janeiro. With degrees in Music and Literature, she is the author of ten widely translated fiction titles, including five novels, a collection of flash fiction, and books for children. She was hailed as a new star of Brazilian literature after the publication of her 2001 novel Sinfonia em Branco (‘Symphony in White’), which received the prestigious José Saramago Prize. In 2007, she was selected by the Hay Festival/Bogota World Book Capital as one of the 39 highest profile Latin American writers under the age of 39. Her latest novel, Crow Blue, will be published in the UK by Bloomsbury in October 2013, translated by Alison Entrekin.

THE JUDGES

Margaret Jull Costa (translator)

Margaret Jull Costa has been a literary translator for nearly twenty-five years and has translated many novels and short stories by Portuguese, Spanish and Latin American writers, including Eça de Queiroz, Fernando Pessoa, José Saramago, Javier Marías, Bernardo Atxaga, Alberto Barrera Tyszka and Luis Fernando Verissimo. She has won various prizes for her work, most recently, the 2012 Calouste Gulbenkian Prize with Teolinda Gersão’s The Word Tree, for which she was also runner-up with António Lobo Antunes’s The Land at the End of the World.

Naomi Alderman (author)

Naomi Alderman grew up in London and attended Oxford University and UEA. In 2006 she won the Orange Award for New Writers, and in 2007 she was named Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year and one of Waterstones’ 25 Writers for the Future. She is the author of four novels: DisobedienceThe LessonsThe Liars’ Gospel  and the Doctor Who tie-in novelBorrowed Time. Naomi broadcasts regularly, has guest-presented Front Row on BBC Radio 4 and writes regularly for Prospect and the Guardian. From 2004 to 2007 Naomi was lead writer on the BAFTA-shortlisted alternate reality game Perplex City. She’s written online games for Penguin, the BBC, and other clients. In 2012, she co-created the top-selling fitness game and audio adventure Zombies, Run!. This year, she has been named among the twenty most promising young British writers by Granta on its prestigious once-a-decade list.

Ángel Gurría-Quintana (journalist)

Ángel Gurría-Quintana is a historian, journalist and translator of Spanish and Portuguese. He has written for the Financial Times since 2003, specialising in literature in translation. His work has also appeared in the Observer, the Guardian, The Paris ReviewBrick, granta.comand the translation blog Three Percent. A regular presence at the Festa Literária Internacional de Paraty, his translations from Portuguese include the stories by Beatriz Bracher, Bernardo Carvalho, Milton Hatoum, Reinaldo Moraes and Cristovão Tezza in the compilation Dez/Ten (2012). More recently he co-edited and translated the forthcoming anthology, Other Carnivals: New Writing from Brazil (Full Circle Editions). He works at the University of Cambridge.

 

Ellie Steel (editor)

Ellie Steel is an editor at Harvill Secker, where she publishes authors Manuel RivasKarin Fossum and Andrey Kurkov, among others. She is the coordinator of the Harvill Secker Young Translators’ Prize and editor of the ‘A View from This Bridge’ blog atwww.internionalwriting.co.uk

I will be reviewing the New Novel in English By Adriana Lisboa tomorrow on the Blog

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