Summer reads in Translation my choices

Well the last few weeks have seen a few Summer reading recommendations in the weekend papers .A discussion the other week after the rather banal Guardian one lead to a question of doing our own well ,I’ve let the dust settle and chosen a few translations that are out now or due out in the next month or so .

the walk

The walk by Robert Walser

Now Serpents tail has issued some more great stories from the ever-growing in reputation Robert Walser .This collection is meant to bridge the gap between the earlier works and the later Microscripts .I ve read his Berlin stories that I ll be reviewing for German lit month and all I’ll say now he is worth trying for any one wanting to fill in gaps in German lit inter wars .

let the games begin

Let the games begin by Niccolo Ammaniti

I m reading this myself at the moment ,it has a dark wit and some bizarre storylines and as I said when I first heard about this book we don’t have enough books about man eating hippos !! out next month

Mariusz-Czubaj-2137-Cover-136x208

21:37 by Mariusz Czubaj

A polish crime novel by the Lovely Joanne and her Stork Press ,we meet Profiler Robert Heinz as he tries to track down a killer of two young men with the number 21 and 37 written on them ,also please note this is on offer on Kindle at the moment .

russian stories

Russian Stories by Francesc Seres

21 stories from relatively unknown to the west Russian writers ,we see modern Russia through the eyes of various girls in and around St Petersburg ,then go back further through each of the five writers in the collection to get a unique insight into Russia past and present .

the son Andrej Nikolaidis

The son By Andrej Nikolaidis

We spend the evening with an unknown narrator as he wanders round the city of Ulcnj ,The narrator a writer is at the crossroads of his life his wife is gone ,he has fallen out with his father and during this evening we see him take his life apart and also the place he lives .Very Bernhard at times this one and a real gem from Istros books .

parrots Flippo Bologna

The Parrots by Flippo Bologna

I ve reviewed this already here ,A great comic satire on Book prizes and writers .

Other titles on my radar

These are books already out I’ve them ready to read hopefully over the summer at some point myself .

All is silence by Manuel Rivas

The infatuations by Javier Marias

Man in love by Karl Ove Knausgaard

Every Promise by Andrea Bajani

What’s going on in the world of translation !

Well it’s been a while since I round-up some Gems and news I’ve come across in the world of translation .So after a week away from the blog it seemed a nice way to ease myself back into the old routine .First of is one of two new publishers that have crossed my path in recent times A publishing house called Deep Vellum ,set in Texas ,they have three title coming soon I believe ,the first is a collection of short stories from Mikhail Shishkin ,I shall be reviewing The light and the dark by him soon and from that could see his short stories being quite tasty pieces ,Sergio Pitol the Mexican writer and translator is the second writer ,he has won the prestigious Cervantes prize in the past .Lastly they are publishing A member of the Oulipo group of writers Anne Garreta ,she was first member  to be  born and chosen to join the group after it was founded ,She has won the Prix Médicis in 2002 for her book not a day

the_missing_year

Next up is a remind I think but their first book is due very soon and it is the New York based New vessel Press the first book is The Missing Year of Juan Salvatierra by Pedro Mairal a man who was a mute spend six decades paint the history of his village on the shores facing Uruguay ,when his sons die they find these scrolls .This reminds me rather of the story of the outsider art of the American Henry Darger who spent year writing an epic saga called the Vivian girls .The book is due out as an Ebook on the 15th July one for the Dairy I think !!.

This week saws the winner of the Oxford Weidenfield Translation prize announced –

Tess Lewis for Lukas Bärfuss, One Hundred Days (Granta)
Louise B. Popkin for Mario Benedetti, Witness (White Pine Press)
Sam Taylor for Laurent Binet, HHhH (Harvill Secker)
Frank Wynne for Alonso Cueto, The Blue Hour (Heinemann)
Philip Boehm for Herta Müller, The Hunger Angel (Portobello)
Mike Mitchell for Jean-Pierre Ohl, The Lairds of Cromarty (Dedalus)

hunger angel

The winner  was The Hunger Angel by Herta Muller  here is my Review  .I may also draw your attention to another book from the shortlist  ,here is My review of The Blue Hour ,A book overlooked I feel as it is better than the more well-known Red April also set in Peru .

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Also a reminder for the forthcoming Thomas Bernhard week .I have a specially commissioned  piece this Thursday that I have been lucky to get from another writer about his love of Thomas Bernhard .

Doctor I’m stuck in a world of English and US fiction can you help ?

I had this idea a couple of years ago for a book clinc and never did anything with it then Kim from reading matters mention a similar thing ,so I gone back to think about doing it more seriously this time ,its two years on and my knowledge base has expand on world literature in that time ,so I now feel I can do this probably .so like any doctor I ll be the translation doctor ,you come to me with a book you’ve loved in english and I ll go away and give you a prescription of a book in translation that may not be the same but will have similar themes so if you tell me what the book was about and maybe the themes in the book you liked and I ll put the time in and recommend something that touches the same themes or plot or if your very lucky both .

I ll give and example that isn’t really mine I must admit it is one that Meike from Peirene press frequently gives for reading the wonderful beside the sea and that is that is you loved the book room by Emma Donoghue ,you will see similar themes in this book .

Another from me would be the books of Roger Deakin ,his style is very similar to the German writers W G Sebald’s  book rings of Saturn I feel if you loved his  books you will get on with Sebald’s prose as they have a similar style .

So help get this start either leave a comment on a book you loved or e mail me and I try and help out otherwise to get ball rolling I just make up the first few books submitted .

The Italian Job

These are books for my Italian week which I ll be starting to read next week and posting week after and for the year-long books in Italy challenge Have a couple of other Italian Noir novels on way from Library so looking forward to spend time in Italy this month well at least in Books .The two I’m most nervous about are Foucault’s pendulum and if on a winter’s night a traveller .These two are meant to be challenging to say the least .I will also be doing an Italian cooking post about the food and wine I love from Italy .Also at end be talking about the translators and what they brought to the books .

So have you read any of these ?

What yopur favourite Italian dish ?

the long song by Andrea levy

Andrea grew up in britain after her parents came here in the empire windrush in the late 40’s ,a subject she touched on ,in the novel small island .She didn’t start writing til here 30’s and since has had a rise with every novel this is her fifth and is shortlisted for the booker .The novel drifts us back to the Jamaica of the 1800’s where slavery is still in place and the slave July we follow her life from her birth after her mother was raped to her entering service for a vicious english women Caroline Mortimer ,where she is beaten and stab with pins and other things on a regular basis for no apparent reason or little provocation .Meanwhile in the outside world there are great changes underfoot rebellions and just glimpses of freedom for the slaves . to the arrival of a new overseer with a new way of treating slaves ,kindly with is slightly more liberal view of doing the work .

July threw herself upon the floor ,held the dress aloft and yelled, missus ,the dress spoil! Them mash-up your dress .It messed up ,it mess up .Oh beat me ,missus come on beat me ! the dress spoil ,spoil,spoil come tek a whip and beat me I beggin you missus .

July expecting a beating from the violent mistress caroline .

Now this is written in a style of Jamaican english or patois that was spoken by the slaves a relaxed english .July comes across as a highly realistic character that has a hard life and you feel her injustices and triumphs along the way .Levy seems to want to bring some of her own family’s history forward and had done maticlious research for this novel in Jamaica and the uk looking back on records of the time and the slaves life ,Which she described in an interview I heard as a hard task as there was a lot of side information number jobs etc but little or none on how the slaves felt at the time .what Levy has done is capture a young girls struggle to womanhood in the most difficult of circumstances .A book for anyone interested in the history of the time and how slaves lives really were on the plantations

This is one of this years booker shortlist .

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