International Translation Day – state of the translation nation

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Now the picture above is Saint Jerome one of the first people to translate the bible and has since become the patron saint of Translation ,well this year seems a great time to do a state of the nation type piece from my view (as thou anyone is listening I imagine but ) ,well as I recently passed the 100 books in translation read for the year ,I get sent books in translation and in the five years of this blog ,yes things are changing but it is rather like turbo in the film its a snail’s pace ,what we want is a nitrous oxide injection .Now I was struck by Katy Derbyshires piece on a female prize in translation being need , I agree,  but I may also add it isn’t the only prize that is really need ,we have a lack of book prize in translation and also a lack of coverage of prizes in translation in the press .I’m not sure which is the chicken or which is the egg to change this situation ? more prizes more coverage would seem to be something to me , also publishers then able to sticker mention prizes and in that way attract the general buying public to books in translation .I have been talking slowly to Susan from Istros about sorting a European book prize of some sort a sort of european booker ,early days and it is slow mainly as I am very nervous about this both through excitment about this but also scared of messing it up as I am actually just a care worker ,who loves books in translation .But I feel my passion is the best part I bring to this any way Susan mentioned it in the post she did for me last year  .I want a prize not just for uk publishers as one of the main things I have seen in the time I’ve been blogging is publishers outside the uk coming to the uk market ,with spanish ,czech publishers and in the future a Dutch publisher doing this I see this as a trend indviduals or big publishers just bypassing the uk / us publishers and translating books at the source .I would also love in the ebook market maybe more out of print books in translation being made available ,I’m not sure how many of you have tried to find some great books that are out of print secondhand some of these books cost a lot in fact the first two Murakami books due for new translation are perfect examples the hear the wind sing is available at £80 secondhand (bargain not ) one of the great things about ebooks is the fact the cost is very little to bring these books back ,I know there are rights problems that need to be sorted ,but someone should try and get on this as for me it seems a small but possibly valuable corner of the market that isn’t being fully used yet .So in year one to five  of winstonsdad – books in translation doing well but could do more (god it sounds like every single one of my school reports lol ), needs more prizes ,more media coverage and maybe a way to get the every day reading  public keener and less scared of books in translation .So back next year for year 6 of books in translation ! . Image via Wiki

What are your thoughts on recent years in translation ?

Indigo by Clemens J. Setz

Indigo by Clemens J. Setz 

Austrian fiction 

Original title – Indigo

Translator – Ross Benjamin

Source – review copy

 

Just like watching the detectives.
Don’t get cute!”
It’s just like watching the detectives.
I get so angry when the teardrops start,
but he can’t be wounded ’cause he’s got no heart.
Watching the detectives.
It’s just like watching the detective

We not only watch the detectives but join them in this book ?

I have been vaguely aware of Clemens J Setz ,I had seen his name on a few German book prize list over the last few years , so when this book arrived from Serpents tail I was delighted to be able to try what seems to be one of the rising stars of German literature .Studied at Graz ,after university ,he went on and became a translator ,then a writer and poet ,his second novel the frequencies was on the German book prize shortlist (the German version of the booker prize ) ,he has also won Leipzig book fair prize .Indigo is his third novel and his first to be translated into English .This novel was also on the german book prize shortlist .A quick taster for German Lit month .

The wonderful inner peace , the first in a long while ,dissipated immediately when he stepped out of the building .Twenty-nine years on the planet and in all that time probably four hours altogether of perfect peace .During the years at Helianau it had been no more than three minutes ,Not counting sleep

Robert tatzel just as he is set free into the world ,free from Indigo .

Indigo ,is a book with two main characters A maths teacher named Clemens Setz and one of his former pupils Robert Tatzel .The title refers to a kid that in 2007 appears in children that affects any adults that get near them with severe headaches ,nausea and vertigo .Clemens is teaching at the time when the children in his class that catch this Indigo condition.Clemens tries to discover what has happened to his pupils ,but is meet with brick walls and the loss his jobs  .They are driven of in a strange type of mask .Then a number of years later one of these pupils Robert tatzel who with age has grown out of the Indigo condition is reading a paper when he discovers that his former teacher Clemen Setz had been on trial and acquitted for a brutal murder .

Acquitted in a trial for the violent death of a man from Romania .Kept his dogs in a dungeon for years . severe abuse .Death by slow flaying .Prime suspect Setz free as of today .The family of the victim , a small picture .people standing there sadly .In recent years mainly a science fiction novels ,a turn away from literature .Currently living as a freelance writer near .

captions from picture Robert finds about his old teacher .

Now that is the basic story ,but this book is a wonderful German take on Post modern fiction , that through these two stories we almost join these two men as they try to discover what has happen in both case ,why were the children taken ? what cause the Indigo ? Why did Clemens Setz end up in a trial for murder .We meet a mix of files, letters, book reviews , news  stories , clippings and pictures  as the two men try to discover fifteen years apart what happen to the other ,almost like a snake trying to eat its own tail it coils and coils ,making this one of those books that is hard to pin down .It’s a real journey through it ,I was reminded at the times  of  writers  like Pynchon or even Perec  both of whom like Setz here tried detective fiction of one sort or another in their time . There is an inventive hand in Setz writing with all the documents letters etc add a dimension that I haven’t seen done as well recently Strene did it first and Dos Passos did it in his books ,even BS Johnson in some ways but Setz for me made this feel like I was detective alongside them ,I ‘m sure each reader like me has their own take on what happened and why because we can all read into what we see from our own lives ,this make this unusual and unique book and new voice in German lit .

 

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