Happy international Translation day

borges

“The original is unfaithful to the translation.” Jorge Luis Borges

calvino

Without translation, I would be limited to the borders of my own country. The translator is my most important ally. He introduces me to the world. Italo Calvino

Translation is the art of failure. Umberto Eco

gunter-grass

Translation is that which transforms everything so that nothing changes.” Gunter Grass

I’ve choosen four quotes by writers whom I have read because of Translation , this blog wouldn’t be here with out the hard work of the many translator and their translations .So today we raise a glass to them and say Bravo for all the hard work and here is too many more books in tranalstion for Winstonsdad .

Hurma by Ali Al-Muqri

 

 

Hurma – Behind the Veil of a Jihadi Bride

Hurma by Ali Al-Muqri

Yemeni fiction

Original title – Hurma

Translator – T M Aplin

Source – review copy

Don’t create
Don’t rebel
Have intuition
Can’t decide

Typical girls get upset too quickly
Typical girls can’t control themselves
Typical girls are so confusing
Typical girls – you can always tell
Typical girls don’t think too clearly
Typical girls are unpredictable (predictable)

Typical girls try to be
Typical girls very well

I choose a powerful female voice , the slits and typical girls as there are no typical girls really !!

It’s rarer and rarer these days I get to add a new country to the list of countries I have read books from,so when the chance to read this book by the respected Yemeni writer Ali Al-Muqri came along I wasn’t going to say no.He has twice been on the lists for the Arab Booker prize with his novels Black Odour and the Handsome Jew .This is his first book to be published in English .

Two cultural videos

I’m going to play the films on Lula’s Mobile phone,She used it to record the films as we watched them that day – she was very keen on making her own copies .

Two naked bodies.A man and woman .Licking and sucking .Groans and Moans .Opening and entering .Zeet-meet.The bodies entwined,face to face in a sitting position,the he lies on his back and she climbs on top of him and rides him like a horse rider mounting her steed,she rides him and rides him all the way .

The porn they watch is eye-opening and very secret in Yemen .

Hurma is the story of one young girls journey from being a girl into a women.It is a journey behind the Burka ,to the everyday life of being a woman in Modern Yemen.This is a family tale of a daughter trying to escape her world in a way.Her brother is socialist and has given up on religion,her sister is a extravagant girl who is maybe to sexual for the world see lives in . What we see here is behind the scenes as Hurma discovers her self and through the words of the Egyptian pop star OM Kalthoum (she is one of the biggest Arabic stars ),through her tape finds a way outside the world she lives in.Hurma decides to choose another path to that of her brother and sister and live behind the veil,but even this leads to men that aren’t suited and turn out top be the wrong men.

Cpuld the song have another meaning ?Didn’t the Arabic teacher at the academy tell us the meaning of a line of poetry is in the belly of the poet ?

Nothing is beyond the reach of a people 

When their feet are firmly in the stirrups .

Such beautiful words .. how slow am I ? why haven’t I appreciated the beauty of these words before ? There’s nothing a people can’t do if they set their sights on it and really go for it .Nothing is impossible .

I do wonder given the first quote could this be read another way still to the way the writer wanted ?

This is a crushing look at the inside world of being in Yemen,we often here it mentioned in Middle east affairs , but maybe know little of the country itself.So we see here what it is like growing up in a country with strict Islamic rules and how people live behind the veil (I hate that term,but can’t see any other way to describe it may step into the skin of being a female in the Arab world ).Hurma isn’t her name but a name she takes meaning in arabic Sancity a pointer of the direction she has taken .Arablit pointed out  the three long taboo subjects of Arabic literature are Politics ,religion and sex .Well in this book we see a fair bit of sex underground porn,sexual awakenings .Politic the brother is political shows the views in the modern Arabic world  and Hurma is the view into religion or the lack of it at times .the violent double standards for women are shown here we know they are there things like this happen but it hasn’t alway been written or discussed in fiction.A powerful book topical,also one of the most eye-catching cover this year I think .Another great Arabic title from Darf publishing.

The one before by Juan José Saer

IMG_20150822_124620

The one before by Juan José Saer

Argentina  fiction

Original title – La Mayor

Translator – Roanne L. Kantor

Source – Review copy

Message In A Bottle”

Just a castaway
An island lost at sea
Another lonely day
With no one here but me
More loneliness
Than any man could bear
Rescue me before I fall into despairI’ll send an SOS to the world
I’ll send an SOS to the world
I hope that someone gets my
I hope that someone gets my
I hope that someone gets my
Message in a bottle
(Message in a bottle)A year has passed since I wrote my note
But I should have known this right from the start
Only hope can keep me together
Love can mend your life
But love can break your heart

I strangely choose A old Police lyric just as one part of arguments is about throwing a bottle with the word message in into the sea .

Now when this a three other books from the american publisher Open letter arrived for review , I was pleased this book in Particular is by a writer that is on my list of writer to read . Juan Jose Saer born to Syrian parents in Santa Fe , he studied philosophy at Litoral University and after that taught history of cinematography , he later got the chance to studied in Paris where he stayed in Exile up to his death ,Exile , Santa Fe and twins are recurring themes in his fiction according to his wiki page .He passed away in 2005 .

I ate the foods of the world ,My hands touched the stones of famous cities and my body , shriveled now but fit and feral , walked the streets more numerous than ripples in a river ,What man have I not known ? what book have I not read ? What might there be in the warehouse od visible and invisible things that could still be sold to me as a novelty ?

A poet remembering the places he has been Memories serve a part , another story is called scent memory

This book is a triptych of stories . Arguments are snatches of stories range from a paragraph to a few pages ,  thin slices of stories that range from little piece of info , arguments about books , being an exile , and memories  that stack up together to make you as the reader both think and feel  . The second and third story are more straight forward Half erased and the one before . I read the intro by the translator  and found that the Character Pigeon Garay is a character that has featured in other works by Saer ,here  he first appears in arguments here ,we see him wrestling with leaving his life in the last story , but his home town is also wrestling with an on coming flood almost as thou it is trying to wipe clean where he was . But also may drown him where he is which isn’t where he wants to be .

“The best thing a message can say ” said Barco , “is just message .So even when everything would seem to indicate we should write HELP! , I’d suggest that we write this is a message , Or just message  short and sweet .

Tomatis considered this a moment and at last agreed , only to encounter another question : who would write the word ?

I choose the police lyric due to these lines , I love the second part who should write the message .

Well this was my first collection by Saer , he is considered one of the main figures in Latin American fiction . For me I see lots of Borges in the first section .These stories  are like tapas like little pieces of fiction and as I say they are  thin slices so like tapas can be mixed together to everyone’s taste  however each reader approaches them taken what you want from them , rather like Borges made the reader work at times to get to the centre of the labyrinth . For me I got out his love of fiction , his feelings of exile (the parts on exile remind me of Goytisolo another great writer on exile ) The second two stories have a more visceral feel to them more of  a modern feel say like Aira and Bolano write and show how Saer was a writer that links the stylish style of Borges with that brutal cutting edge of prose of Bolano  .A great first book from Open letter books , I have two others coming in the next week or two .

Have you read Saer ?

Reading Europe German Lit on the radio

 

 

Look who's back

Today saw one of my favourite books get on the radio , Look who’s back by Timur Vermes  I reviewed this book last year .The book is a satire about Hitler returning to Germany in 2011 , 66 after the last day he remembered was in 1945 , as we see him tackling the new world that surrounds him . He finds people have forgotten who he is or thing he is a comic that does Hitler on the german tv .The amount of turkish people now in Berlin and things like TV , Starbucks or Herr Starbuck’s as he calls it the rise of his coffee shops . I’m so happy this was choosen to as part of the BBC reading europe series . For me when I reviewed this I said how well Jaime the translator of the book   had caught the  voice of hitler , this has been carried over in the performance of David Threlfall  which is  just perfect .He has  long been one of my favourite actors and in this performance he  captures what we feel Hitler must have been like if he spoke english in the 1940’s , that madness that is just below the surface of him  ,.He has the feel of a man on the edge but just on the edge . we see how Hitler becomes a star of the new media age  on a comedy show (presented by a Turkish comedian ), The TV folk think he is actually a very clever comedy  act , not the real person . Some great lines , where he takes some one to pieces about their knowledge of Poland , his constant thoughts about  what he would do to people around him  and looking for his  new Bormann .The final discovery the internet a wonder to him  .You can find this the first episode here  .If you want to see how Hitler finds modern Germany .Another triumph for Jamie Bulloch , he also translated Every seventh wave and forever yours which were also on the radio .

 

German lit month planning

Still a month to go to this years German lit month but I have already two books read this year ready for November .I have a number of books I have taken down of the shelves of winstonsdad’s towers .I am always adding books with german lit month in mind when I find them .

 

20150926_145757The first pic Gregor Von Rezzoris snows of yesterday one I have want to read for a while , the tale of the writers life and his family .The a Gunter Grass one of two pictured , I also have a third book by him that I have to choose from .Then we have two classics of German lit The sorrows of Young Werther by Goethe he is considered the grandfather of german Literature I read Faust his most famous play years ago , I love this cover of the one world classic edition then also from one world classics is The devil’s elixirs by Hoffman a monk tries to… need I say more .

20150926_145636

Then I have the Oxford collection of stories from Vienna including names like Roth, Schnitzler and Canetti .Then a collection of three novellas by Peter Handke Slow homecoming The same character Valentin Sorger is in all three books they focus on alienation through getting back into society then feeling inner harmony .Then the other Grass the huge Flounder is told over space of nine months as a father tells the story of his life and the fish the flounder , whilst his wife is expecting their child .

20150926_145650

Then I looked back at the last four issues of New books in German the journal that deals with German translations and books available for translation to find a few books from Library to order , which  have done also the new system on derbyshire libraries will let you search for translators and via this I have turned up a few gems from the 70’s that I can’t wait to read including one that left me shocked going really got read that  (I think everyone will be same as me just hope it is there )  .I also managed to order a  Frederich Schiller , Christa wolf  and Remarque books that Lizzy and Caroline are doing during German lit Month , I sly said I may do a couple of books . I did 8 books in 2014 and 2013 ,9 in 2012 , 6 in 2011 so I hope to maybe get into double figures this year for German lit month .I always get excited for German lit month , rather sad I not been sent many new German books this last few months , but great books I have brought with german lit month in mind make up for that .

What you planning to read ?

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