Anthea Bell RIP

Anthea Bell

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Today the translation community got the sad news that one of the best-known Translators of the last fifty years had passed away. Anthea Bell is a name readily known too. She had translated a lot of the books I read pre-blog so was a translator. She was best known for her work on the Asterix series. She said in an interview “It’s all about finding the tone of voice in the original. You have to be quite Free”. Klaus Flugge said of Anthea -” Anthea has a talent that not every translator has for catching the mood of a book. Some are a bit more wooden and some try to take too many liberties. She has a knack of hitting the right style and atmosphere,” I was a huge fan of she had featured in a dozen review of her translations over that last eight years of the blog. I had picked my three favorites from the blog.

A minutes silence by Siegfried Lenz – One of the Gruppe 47 writers that post-war set alight German Literature. This is the tale of a doomed romance between a teacher and Pupil.

The glory of life by Michael  Kumpfmüller – The book tells the story of Kafka’s final days as he falls for a younger woman first on the Baltic coast then through Berlin.

Journey into the Past by Stefan Zweig – the tale of Ludwig and his love for a married woman was a novella that Zweig worked on for y=twweig translations were simply stunning works of translation. I also enjoyed here Sebald Translation.

Have you a favorite Bell translation?

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My ten all time favourite tv shows

I haven’t done a fun sunday post for a while so I’d thought I’d  pick my all time favourite tv shows –

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  1. Around the world in eighty days with Michael Palin. I have loved all his shows but this the original one the first based on the Jules Verne book open my eyes to places around the world as a young lad but also was part of the reason for this blog to travel the world in books.
  2. ER I’ve been rewatching this recently and forgot how good it was there is a lot of talk about modern shows being great but this for me when it came out made our UK show casualty seem plain and wooden this was fast paced and had a number of stories each episode and a character development over the years as the team grew.
  3. Babylon 5 I was always a tv sci-fi fan when younger but not so much these days but the one show I have watched through a few times is this it was such a clever series with the story developing over the five series as we saw good versus evil and theories of the way we should live order versus chaos. It had great special effects for the day.
  4. X files  I have the complete series it had it all two partners that love and hate each at the start but grow closer. There is everything from creature feature to aliens to ancient creatures and Indian myths.I’ve not loved the new ones so much as they seem to be trying to hard to capture what made it great.
  5. Homicide life on the streets – Before the wire this was set in the same city and had the same gritty feel as the wire but a number of great stand out characters especially detective Munch who has turned up in many a series since.
  6. P’tit Quinquin a short french tv series by the french film director Bruno Dumont a body has turned up in a small seaside town we have a quirky detective and a small boy in an odd drama that goes nowhere but is engrossing.
  7. Brideshead revisited I loved this as a kid even more as an adult we don’t see enough Waugh. This just oozed quality and had so many great scenes I loved visit castle Howard a few years ago it reminded me of the scenes set there. I could mention Holmes with Jeremy brett another series from the eighties I loved.
  8. Twin Peaks The first two series I have watched not the recent one yet but this had it all the quirkiest director of his age let loose on tv was a rare event and hasn’t happened much since. A feast of oddball characters cracking quotable lines like its damm fine cherry pie etc etc
  9. American horror story – for me no modern series is as good as this the clever twist of using the same actors, on the whole, each series but in different roles and scenarios has worked every from witchcraft to sideshows clown and even tv and how we view ghost stories in a clever series that had a real and staged version of a story that was supposed to have happened. The last tackled Cults can’t wait for the next as it is always interesting.
  10. Stranger things – I have Netflix but in whole streaming hasn’t made to many great series that have grabbed me this one did it has so many nods to classic 80’s films by the likes of Speilberg and writers like Stephen King the only other Netflix series I have like is the crown.

Honorable mentions – Juliet bravo 80s small-town crime nothing much happens but is a window on how the police used to be before PACE.

The Bill the first few series same as above before we need murders and gangsters to keep us viewing

Wild Palms underrated Oliver Stone about a tv show and two groups wanting to shape the future of the world!!

What series do you like to watch and what classics you into?

Running out of steam next stop September

 

I have recently spent a month of work with depression and stress related to grief. I returned to work a few weeks ago, I work long thirteen hour days at what is a stressful job helping people with learning disabilities in crisis in a ward setting. I am also struggling to deal with my Mums death last year and the fact Amanda isn’t well. I have tried to carry on blogging but this has drained me and made blogging become a task rather than a pleasure in recent weeks I have always set my bar high of trying to review a 100 books a year and trying to add new countries and bringing the world to everyone. But this last few months I have been running on empty the weather also hasn’t helped I hate hot weather at the best of times a tall slightly overweight chap isn’t built for a heat wave. I had a bad day yesterday at work and its left me drained again and maybe in a negative frame of mind so I think of blogging and I want to but just feel as thou I can’t put my heart into what I am writing. So rather than get rid of all my good work I am taking a long break and returning next month. I am looking forward to the last Karl Ove Novel and the long Await Uwe Johnson Anniversaries translation also books like the Dasa Drndric and Murakami due I feel a break from blogging and the pressure I have been putting myself under to read to keep up the blog. I will still be round twiiter and may visit blogs some more than I have to try and get inspiration.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Daša Drndić, At true great of European fiction has passed.

The pic is of Dasa when I meet her the day at the IFFp in 2013 when her first book to be translated into English. Trieste had been shortlisted for the prize. I had a good half hour chat that evening with her. She told me about how the Italian edition of the book Trieste had a tear-out section of the list of names of Jewish people killed in Italy and the idea was that people could take out a name they knew and over time as the pages went like the losses of the people the book became unstable like the loss of all those voices on society. This is a perfect example of the power of her as a writer. I have reviewed the three books she has been translated into English they are Trieste, Leica Format and Belladonna. She also paid me the highest compliment in say she had read my blog, although I could do with an editor she said. She also commented a few times on the blog which for me was touching. Her books dealt with big subjects and showed the brutal heart of Europe a writer that needs to be read. I’m sorry to hear of her passing today and remember a warm summers day I meet her a number of years ago. Her words when her last book was up for the Croat book of the year sum her views up well.

We live in a very sick time, in a time that destroys spirit, thought, freedom, individuality, joy, beauty, knowledge, and love, and at the same time destroys ourselves. Just like a carcinogenic pancreas, whenever it eats the bodies surrounding it, it disappears alone. To those who write this topic to pretek. Within this globally collapsing, decaying world (the world), floats countless stories of small and large, known, unknown, for literature more than enough. After all, those who read (and increasingly reads a leafy, quick and easy digestive book with enough additives to absorb the original flavor of ‘material’) are at least at times privy to their voyeur passion, a foolish fool, in English called the ‘pacifier’. So the everyday life remains cloudy, and the imaginative readers are unaware of their existential limbo.(a google translation but gets the spirit of her words)

 

When the Levee breaks a Grief unleashed

I have been quiet for a couple of weeks on the blog front. I should have asked myself why before what happened happened. I am a very English sort of bloke, I try and keep the stiff upper lip and keep my self to myself. I have always struggled to talk about feelings and emotions.  I have kept my feelings on the whole during my life to myself. It started when my parents split and I was nine and I held in my emotions to myself, over the years I tend to build them up. In the past, I had Mum and My step mum Milly to chat to but now there is a void, even walking Winston would at times help me clear thoughts. This lead to what happened the other day when a small event at work became a catalyst for an outpouring of my emotions that I struggled to get back under control after an hour of crying I finally got back in control. But just I then looked back over the last few months from Mum dying which I never really come to terms with there is a sea of if and whats. So much I wish I said and done over the years but never did and now I can’t. Then My darling wife is struggling with pain which I wish I could take away but try and be there for her as much as possible. Add to this a failed driving test a few days before the third anniversary of my step mums passing. My job can be stressful at times and this had all come together and  I cracked. Now I have to try and open up and unburden myself. I had a similar incident fifteen years ago, I was unaware then and now I didn’t see this coming well I had been getting tearful more than normal at silly things and hiding behind jokes at times. I have been to the doc and now am going to talk to someone. I have to try and come to terms with mum not being here and build a new way of talking to people. Anyway, I sit feeling numb and fragile and hope that books will be as ever my companions and help me. I will be back tomorrow with a review. Sorry but in writing this I have maybe taken a step towards unburdening myself.

7 years bloganniversary let’s go to Spain

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The wordpress app told me at weekend it was seven years since winstonsdad started its trip around the world of Literature. In that time I have managed to review 635 books from 103 countries a real tour of the world . I miss the old days of blogging when it seemed new and fun but the recent move and a new library have spurred this old blogger on to carry on so we start off with the next spanish lit month which is next month. I have five books I plan to read one is reread.

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First up is two books due out from Harvil secker The first from a new star of Spanish Literature DIvorce is in the air by Gonzalo Torne one for the fans of Ferrante and Knausgaard says Harvil . Next is On the edge by Rafael Chirbes one of the great writers of recent times from Spain he won two of the biggest prizes in Spanish literature.

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Nocilla dream is the reread of the pile a wonderful odd collection of short snippets like a trail of photos with stories made up about them. I enjoyed it on the first read but felt a second reading would be worth it for this collection .

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Next up is Loquela by Carlos Labbe the chilean writer is compared to Borges and this is a warped love story and detective novel in one . One of those books that challenges the reader.

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Lasr but not least is the won derfully witty Sky over lima which sees two writers in Chile write and start a love affair in letter with the famous Spanish poet Juan Ramon Jimenz .In what started as a plan to get his latest book early turns it a love in letters .

Have you any plans for Spanish lit month ?

How do you keep your blogging fresh after a number of years ?

Arno Who? Library stash a whole heap of german books

Arno Schmidt

I Promise I will review a book next but as ever time has runaway this evening so , I decide to show you the nine books I just ordered that had come to the library today , I’ve a few more in the pipeline . First off this is one of two I really got excited about when I ordered it from the library ,The eggplant republic is a book by the writer that has been compared to Joyce amongst others Arno Schimdt is best known for his epic novel Zettels Traum (which is huge and is currently being translated into English and is due out on Dalkey Archive a some point in the next couple of years) .This book is about a journalist visiting  a jet power island .I can’t wait this is one of the names I want on this blog .

Christa wolf

What remains is a collection of stories by the late East german writer Christa Wolf , the title story is described as a East German writers journey into a Kafkaesque world .

Marie Jaolowicz Simon

Gone to Ground by Marie Jaolwicz Simon a true story ,She disappeeared into Berlin in 1941 removing her yellow star and becoming someone else for the rest of the war .I was reminded of a film I saw years ago were a Jewish boy joined the Hitler youth in Berlin during the war Europa , Europa I think it was called .

Juli Zeh

I had tried  a previous Juli Zeh book , but didn’t get into it so left it , but this love triangle story of a couple that are  learning to dive whilst on holiday  and the wife falling for the diving instructor .

W G Sebald

Sebald talks about the six writers the influenced him as a writer in this book , I read all his novels as they came out and not read a book by him for a few years,so this will be one I will savour I think.I may also find a new writer to try from his six writers .

peter stamm

Another novel by Peter Stamm , I reviewed seven years a couple of years ago ,I like his sparse style but only just got round to him again .A women who became a widow in a car crash and has horrific injuries trying to get her life back together.

Bernhard Aichner

The story of Blum whose husband is killed by the men he is investigating , this sends her on a killing spree as her dark past is unlocked . A crime novel for German lit month .

Joesph Brodsky

One of two none German books for after German lit month Watermark is Nobel winner Joseph Brodsky prose piece about his visit to Venice .built around 48 short chapters .

Claude simon

Another of the Noveau Roman writers Claude Simon conducting bodies another experimental novel .

So one of my two surprise finds from the library the other is even better than Arno Schimdt .

Spanish teeth for sale quote for sunday

Mariner reading on pink background - Yiannis Tsaroychis

Teeth and books seem an odd pairing but my current Spanish lit month read is about Teeth and selling Teeeth the latest work by  Valeria Luiselli the story of teeth . So here is a Quote I enjoyed .

HYPERBOLIC LOT NO.9

Our penulitimate lot , ladies and gentlemen , exludes an air of mystical melancholy . The tooth itself is crocodilian , but its aura is almost angelic . Note the curve , it os like a wing in ascent . It’s owner , Mr. Jorge Francisco Isidoro Luis Borges , was a man of average height . His short , thin legs supported a torso , which was at once solid and svelte .His head was the size of a small coconut , and his slender , flexiable neck . He was a pantheit . His eyes used to flit from side to side , useless , impenetrable to sunlight but ready to receive the light of beautiful , good ideas . He spoke slowy , as if searching for adjectives in the darkness . How much will you bid ?

How much would you pay for Borges tooth ?

 

Hello I’m back and lets get ready to blog

Now why start this post with Hitler as potrayed by Bruno Ganz .Well whilst I’ve been away ok my mind was elsewhere .I sadly lost my wonderful stepmother last week , but was thankful for the time spent with her and my dad more than in recent years , then this last weekend I rested and started turnong my mind back to the blog .But also to as Simon of Savidge reads does ever so often a state of the blog post came to mind .Partly set  on this track by reading The Ogre by Michel Tournier a 1970 Prix Goncourt winner .I remember the early days of this blog when I read just books I found and read everything I could lay my hands on at the Library .This lead to my blog maybe having the widest range of books in its early years , recently I feel as thou I ran out of steam I let things go I loved .Things I started I have let slip when I should be running and curating these things . I started both translation thurs on twitter and the shadow iffp both of which I have let slide this last year . I will be bringing t the fun back to this blog and to me in general I feel a weight has been lifted something in the back of my head that had been on my mind for over a year has gone now so I can set my body and soul  back on the blog . I started with Bruno Ganz as this is  clip well-known a clip to break free of being a world cinema film , like Je’t Aime by Serge Gainsbourg or Lisbeth Salander from Steig Larsson books . All these have broken out of the groove . Why well to me they appeal to something in all of us a base instinct  , not to a critical discussion on lit in translation , world cinema or world music . No they grab you Bruno Ganz as the angry Hitler losing control appeals as we would maybe love to get that angry or even to blow our tops that way , hence the number of spoof videos around the net .Serge singing we would all love to be the lover like him , or the blood and guts like Lisbeth . That is what I need to do not say how this book is in a large scheme of literature or discussion of the finer points of its merit” no” , there is plenty of quality magazines or books out there . I have a number books in this line western canon etc and  I get the LRB . But no to me the point of this blog is to be like that annoying kid in class that always had the latest music, that at time you went it isn’t for me , but then went home listen to and went damm this guy is in the loop . A cheerleader for translation anything but a bloody bore on the place of a book hell who the hell am i to say that  about it !! sorry I feel I was heading this way my reviews have been boring and maybe me just doing the motions , I not been trying to have fun to worried about word counts and maybe trying to seem like I know what I am on about , I don’t always 500 books in every book to me is still an adventure and an escape maybe I not been putting that across enough .So let’s go discover books together , lets find lists of great books around the world and start a collective cheer around the world .I will allow the feel shadow IFFP announce the winner tomorrow as I feel my part is to small this year to do it

TTFN Family comes first back soon !

I have two mothers My mum lives in Wales and My step mother  Millie ( I hate that word step just never sounds right ) ,any way Millie is very ill at the moment . So I’m taking a break of at least the rest of may and possibly the first week of June . I have left the shadow IFFP jury for this year as I just haven’t the mind to talk about books at the moment in any depth .I’m going up and down the country a couple of times a week  to spend as much time with a much beloved parent that has brought a lot to my life in the thirty plus years she has been in it .So as you imagine time has been squeezed some what the last couple of weeks and rather than carry on with silly small post or half hearted reviews which is something I don’t want to do . I will still be round twitter and have a few days in scotland at end of the month to charge my batteries .I really want to cry when I hear sun kill moon’s words at moment

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