The latest newsletter from the Finnish Literature Exchange (the government sponsored organization dedicated to promoting Finnish lit worldwide) arrived yesterday and included a couple interesting article/links.
First off, there have been a few additions to the Beginners’ Guide to Translation, which, to be honest, I didn’t know existed, but looks like an interesting (and inspiring) document for people interested in getting in to translation.
There’s also an announcement about this year’s winner of the Government Translation Prize:
The Government Translation Prize, worth 10,000 euros, was awarded this year to translator and librarian Gabriele Schrey-Vasara. Gabriele Schrey-Vasara has been a distinguished translator of both novels and scholarly works for almost 30 years. In her role as translator, she has been a part of the flowering of interest in Nordic literature in Germany in the past ten years. Schrey-Vasara has interpreted the character of Maria Kallio, the strong police woman in Leena Lehtolainen’s books, and the renowned Ingrian-Estonian anti-hero Viktor Kärppä in Matti Rönkä’s novels, among others.
Finally, and of most interest to me, is a link to the new issue of Books from Finland, which includes extracts, reviews, and general info on a number of Finnish writers, along with an almost-gooey love letter to Context magazine
We haven’t received a hard copy yet (not sure we’re even on the mailing list, which is probably more our fault than FILI’s), and unfortunately there are very few articles available online. (Which is something that I think is rather short-sighted. If you’re trying to interest people in your country’s literature—a difficult task already—don’t make potential readers/fans do extra work to get the info . . .) If/when we do get a copy, I’ll post again with more details about the authors and works featured inside.
Prose translators will likely disagree, but I believe translating poetry requires a significant level of talent, a commitment to the text, and near mania, all of which suggests that the undertaking is the greatest possible challenge. The task is to. . .
The biggest issues with books like The Subsidiary often have to do with their underpinnings—when we learn that Georges Perec wrote La Disparition without once using the letter E, we are impressed. Imagine such a task! It takes a high. . .
Following The Infatuations, Javier Marías’s latest novel seems, like those that have preceded it, an experiment to test fiction’s capacity to mesmerize with sombre-sexy atmospheres and ruminative elongated sentences stretched across windowless walls of paragraphs. Thus Bad Begins offers his. . .
Death by Water, Kenzaburo Oe’s latest novel to be translated into English, practically begs you to read it as autobiography. Like The Changeling, as well as many other works not yet released in English, Death by Water is narrated in. . .
Jocelyne Saucier’s Twenty-One Cardinals is about the type of unique, indestructible, and often tragic loyalty only found in families. For a brief but stunningly mesmerizing 169 pages, Twenty-One Cardinals invited me in to the haunting and intimate world of the. . .
We know so very little; so little that what we think to be knowledge is hardly worth reckoning with at all; instead we ought to settle for being pleasantly surprised if, on the edge of things, against all expectations, our. . .
Many of Virginie Despentes’s books revolve around the same central idea: “To be born a woman [is] the worst fate in practically every society.” But this message is nearly always packaged in easy-to-read books that fill you with the pleasure. . .
Ilja Leonard Pfeijffer’s La Superba is appropriately titled after the Italian city of Genoa, where, after escaping the pressures of fame in his own country, the semi-autobiographical narrator finds himself cataloguing the experiences of its mesmerizing inhabitants with the intention. . .
It took reading 44 pages of Intervenir/Intervene before I began to get a sense of what Dolores Dorantes and Rodrigo Flores Sánchez were up to. Recurring throughout these 44 pages—throughout the entire book—are shovels, shovel smacks to the face, lobelias—aha!. . .
As presaged by its title, contradiction is the theme of Peter Stamm’s novel, All Days Are Night. Gillian, a well-known television personality, remains unknowable to herself. And Hubert, a frustrated artist and Gillian’s lover, creates art through the process of. . .