Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Translations


I picked this issue of McSweeney's on sale at Skylight books the other day. It's from 2012.  I'm not a huge reader of literary journals.  This caught my eye, though, as it's twelve stories in six different translations. The stories are translated from the original language to English, then to another language, then to another, etc.  There are three English versions of most of them, and other versions in Arabic, Urdu, French, Spanish, Russian, Japanese, German, Hebrew, etc., from writers from Etgar Karet, Jonathan Lethem, Nathan Englander, Gary Shteyngart, A.S. Byatt, J.M. Coetzee; it's quite a collection. It's also interesting to have writers who you've read in English translate another author from their native language.
The wonderful Kafka "The Creature in our Synagogue" was the story that caught my eye and made me pick it up. It's an odd, disquieting story. It makes me want to read more Kafka. There is also a beautiful fable called "The Fox and Earth God" by Kenji Miyazawa, a delicate, heart-rending tale of jealousy.  It's a nifty collection.  Pick it up. I think Skylight has a few more, or you can buy it online.

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