Behind the station by Arno Camenisch

 

 

Behind the station by Arno Camenisch

Swiss fiction

Original title – Hinter dem Bahnhof

Translator – Donal Mclaughlin

Source – personal copy

I feature the first book in the trilogy Arno Camenisch wrote The alp earlier this month. I had ordered this book first but when it arrived and I saw that it was the second book I decided to order the Alp. Which is the book he got more acclaim for? Though this book style wise is similar in tone to the other book.The third part of the book has also been translated into English. But I haven’t got a copy yet.

My Grandfather has seven and a half fingers. On his left hand he has five fingers. on his right hand, he has the thumb, the index finger and half a middle finger> Thats two and half fingers that are missing, he took off at the big band saw. He wears his wedding ring on the left ring finger. Nonno coughs and says, bot, don’t come to close to the band saw on me, or do you want your fingers pff. Nonno is the master of the band saw.

This echoed a [passage in the alp about missing fingers and maybe the harsh nature of life.

Like the Alp, this is a book set in a small alpine village of forty or so people. It is told from the point of view of a young boy. Who lives there with his brother and observes the world they live in. like in the earlier book” the alp “, this is a gritty view of alpine life for those less well off. A tale of village life growing up without any real hope in your heart. Also although through child’s eyes you see the tough nature of the world of his parents and even more so of his grandparents.Especially with the grandfather’s illness, a real feeling of hope is failing as the chief patriarch. This is tough as the narrator is only five years old elsewhere we see him and brother get into a number of scraps the brother falls the two get stuck in one part. A bleak internal look at the alpine life devoid of hope in many ways but also full of the wonderful quaint ways of village life.

We’ll have to spend the night in the chair lift and will miss Scaccia pensieri on tv tonight, my brother says, and mother will have to flush the rice and beetroot down the toilet. The last of the Chupa chups have also gone when we hear my father calling, the helicopter’s on its way. My brother looks at me. Behind the blue panes in his ski glasses, his eyes look like those of a fish. I don’t beleive it, I say , my father’s bored and joking for sure, there are no HelioKopter round here. My brother says, Maybe the heliokopter really is coming and it’ll throw us down rucksacks with new Chupa Chups and salami and cucumber sandwiches so we don’t get hungry during the night.

Somthung child like in this pasage but also harsh realism of the diet of the poor alpine people.

Like in the first part of the trilogy the names of the characters are just Family names so brother, father, mother aunt, uncle etc. The only people that we do see k=named are Italian immigrants that work the land. This is a very baron view of the world told from the internal thoughts of our nameless narrator. if Peter from the Hiedi stories had a novella written by Thomas Bernhard this would be near it there is a bitter undertow of hopelessness the village is like in the alp with the similar characters a place caught out of time with the surrounding world and our narrator even thou young could even have been like a Dickens child character for the way he viewed the world. There is a similar bleak nature to the likes of the young Oliver or even more so Pip as they both share a bleak world the world of the village of Oberlander is similar to that of Pips Marshland home.

Naw much of a Talker by Pedro Lenz

NawMuchofaTalker.270

Naw much of a talker by Pedro Lenz

Translator – Donal McLaughlin

Swiss fiction

Original title – Der Goalie bin ig

Source – Review copy

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Well when I was contact by the publisher about this book it sound really fun take on a translation Pedro Lenz has spent time in Glasgow the lead character in this book is from Glasgow ,so the choice of Donal McLaughlin a Scottish translator meant that he could translate the book into a Scottish vernacular .Pedro Lenz was born in Langenthral in Switzerland studied spanish literature at Bern university ,since then has spent time as a freelance writer for papers ,magazines and is also a member of a spoken word group .This is his debut novel and was nominated for the swiss book prize and won the Berne prize .This book is also to be made into a film .

Tell me summit ,Goalie .Whit like wise it in jail ? Ah don’t kow anyone else who’s been .

Is thart how ye came ?

Naw , naw at aw .Ah telt ye , didnt ah ,someone said it wis yir birthday .Ahm jjust intrtisit ,that ‘s aw

It’s nowt special

Just after he gets let out Goalie ask how it was locked up .

Now the title has change from German to English but the German title gives a clue tot the books main character he is called Goalie ,and is like a character out of an Irvine Welsh novel he has just been released from prison after serving time for drugs  and he  has decide to get away with his friend Regi and his new girlfriend to spain for a break .Now how do you describe Goalie well he is one of these guys that is destined to be a no hoper a loveable rogue ,but his greatest flaw is that he trust those around he maybe a little too much and this can lead him into trouble .It seems this isn’t the first time this level of trust and belief has led goalie astray .He is also a great spinner of yarns and likes to twists his own truths .As they are away he tells his yarns and slowly his friend ,tells him he should be doing more with his story telling ability .In the end we see him trying to forge a new life away from his old life .

Well this is a book of the voice ,I can see why some that does spoken word performance ,would fall in love with the loveable rogues and tall tales of Glasgow .Goalie is the embodiment of type of man not even from Glasgow but a man who lives his life large on tall tales and what he has done ,there is many of them in every big city in the corner of a pub or club holding court and telling his Yarn .As I said in the start Goalie could walk of the pages of Irvine Welsh or even Roddy Doyle Novel ,he would be a side character in their books maybe a man in the pub as the commitments played telling tales or a fellow drug taker from train spotting telling a story as the buy There drugs .Now this isn’t the easiest book to follow at times it is in a thick Scottish dialect ,but when I tend to speak the lines to myself I got the real feel of the book .This is a book that would do well as an Audiobook or to be read out loud a clever take on modern Glasgow and its colourful characters .

would you like more books in Dialect or given a more regional feel if set in the uk in translation ?

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