I Jump Aboard…

November 3rd, 2007 § 0 comments § permalink

… translating Archaia Studios Press’ series The Killer by Jacamon (art!) and Matz (words!), with issue #5,

Archaia’s The Killer, Issue #5

released back to back two weeks ago with issue #6

Archaia’s The Killer, Issue #6: Part II of “The Debt”

to grateful exclamation. The start of this new arc, “The Debt”, is a good place for new readers to jump on. Reviews have been ecstatic, especially over the NY scenes in #6, though not a single critic has neglected to bewail Archaia’s lateness in delivering what seems their best-loved translated title. Nor am I privy to what editorial congestion held up timely publication–but it wasn’t this translator! Writer Matz provided Archaia with his own translations of his work, which they asked me to brush up. Working on this series has been a crash course in concise dialogue. The other two Archaia series I work on, Okko and The Secret History, the former with its flourishes of formal diction, and the latter with its historical freight, both allow more leeway in narration than the clipped tone of The Killer. The rule of thumb that English is 15% more concise than French does not apply to slang (and in my experience applies more to the formal French of nonfiction and newspapers than to the literary idiolects authors invent to express largely personal concepts). » Read the rest of this entry «

Roland Jaccard: L'homme cruel

January 15th, 2008 § 0 comments § permalink

The cruel man instinctively understands that humanism is the senile daydream of winded nations who haven’t enough strength left to come to terms with the idea of universal hatred, who cannot bear to think history condemned to repeating the tragedy of Cain and Abel.

The cruel man believes the most contemptible of men is he who needs the respect of others in order to respect himself.

The cruel man puts us on our guard: girls are dangerous playthings. Even the sweetest leave a bitter aftertaste.

The cruel man concedes a single merit to literature: to raise the reader toward the heights of lucidity, only to hurl him into the void.

The cruel man detests memories, especially good ones.

The cruel man recommends suicide to all when they no longer find favor in their own eyes.

The cruel man aggravates his wound.

The cruel man deems it shameful to cling to life. The best thing to do upon finding oneself alive is to bow out.

The cruel man knows he will not overcome his own suffering by trying to ease that of others. Thus he pays but vague attention to it.

The cruel man always feigns the feelings he gives the illusion of actually experiencing, and never experiences what he manages to feign.

The cruel man abhors the cynic’s every pose, starting with his own.

Roland Jaccard, Cioran et compagnie (Presses Universitaires de France, 2005)

We Are Not, in fact, Alone

February 1st, 2008 § 0 comments § permalink

In fact, “We Are Not Alone,” the story by GB Tran and myself in last fall’s Awesome! anthology has drawn some praise.  Innumerable thanks to those reviewers who thought it worth mention:

Adam McGovern of Comiclist says “in ‘We Are Not Alone’ (a lifegiving urban fantasia of flying-saucer samaritans) [we] particularly make the most of the collection’s black-and-white format for a graphic brevity and painterly abundance of shadow and tone.” 

Matthew J. Brady at Indiepulp says we “contribute a really beautiful-looking story that I don’t understand at all which seems to be about alien water towers providing awesome water to a city.”

And with some help from Babelfish, the Greek site Comicdom (του Αριστείδη Κώτση) puts our tale among the “most impressive drawn comics the anthology [sic],” with Keith Champagne and Dev Madan, Jamie Burton, and Robin and Lawrence Etherington.

Two other reviews of Awesome and our fellow contributors to be found here and here.  Many thanks again to all reviewers.

Haste Post

February 7th, 2008 § 0 comments § permalink

A Handsome Hardcover

A much belated announcement that the Okko hardcover, collecting the four gorgeous issues of the Cycle of Water, has been out for two months from Archaia Studios Press, so why don’t you own it yet? It is sumptuous, handsome, and in the right lighting, or understanding hands, even sensual, redolent of such Eastern spices as were bestowed upon the Lord by road-weary heathen kings. It fine binding creaks discreetly when you open it for the first time, and inside a voyage awaits like that of Keats looking into Chapman’s Homer. The dun and beige scheme of its covers mimics brass plate that gives burnished reflection of the wondering reader.  Preview the first issue of the next arc, the Cycle of Earth, here. Everything Archaia pretty much available here.  Support my colleagues and an indie comics company.

Maestro Alexis Siegel namechecks me in an insightful article, chock full of excellent examples, on the puns and pratfalls of comics translation, at the First Second blog. Love from the sensei humbles the student. An excellent link may be found therein to an Anthea Bell article from The Telegraph. This woman is responsible for the English rendition of one of my favorite books, Sebald’s Austerlitz. But before that, she was all about Asterix–in the comics world, translations legendary as Beckett’s own of Godot. There is something in these two pieces that points toward the hope and possibility of actually helpful essays on this admittedly very specialized subgenre of a marginalized literary activity. The possibility of saying anything useful in the field had defeated me, but once again, teacher shows the way. I liken it to the pointer-laden craft approach of this article.

Staying with First Second Books for a moment, my lucky editrix will be leaving the company to pursue a full-time children’s dream at Roaring Brook. Sniff! I’ll miss her. She’ll be gone by the time Cyril Pedrosa’s Three Shadows comes out in April, right before NY Comic-Con. Congrats to the French original which was one of five to pick up an audience favorite prize, the Must-Read, at Angouleme: the biggest comics festival in the world.

Last but definitely not least, the new February Words Without Borders, the second graphics issue in what may become a n annual tradition, is a treasure trove featuring an interview with Gipi and a Korean childhood favorite from Heinz Insu Fenkl.  Editor Samantha Schnee struts out two South American comics, and Dupuy (of Dupuy & Berberian, the team behind Monsieur Jean, who took Angouleme’s top prize this year), has a whimsical confection about a world-traveling rabbit.  I’m elated to have two new comics translations, collage from Lebanon and comedy from Gabon, appear amongst such riches (at this point there are still some typos in them).

Three Shadows Update

February 14th, 2008 § 0 comments § permalink

Dude, I’m in New York Magazine. Color me astonished. Between Lou Reed and Nicole Kidman. Check it.

Kudos and thanks to Mr. Pedrosa and the team at First Second.

Lots of New Publications

April 16th, 2008 § 0 comments § permalink

Silk Road has picked up my translation of Mercedes Deambrosis’ short story “A Spotless Marriage” from the collection La Promenade de délices for their Spring 2008 issue.

Epiphany is publishing my translation of Georges-Olivier Châteaureynaud’s “Écorcheville” from the collection Singe savant tabassé par deux clowns for their Spring 2008 issue. UPDATE: Epiphany has included the following in the latest newsletter concerning the upcoming issue: “the first North American appearance in print of the astonishing  Georges-Olivier Châteaureynaud, in a story, brilliantly translated by Edward Gauvin, about the invention of a coin-operated ‘execution machine’ in a small French village and just why you might—or might not—want the advice of a clairvoyant parrot.”

The Café Irreal will feature my translation of Georges-Olivier Châteaureynaud’s “The Pavilion and the Lime Tree” from the collection of the same name, Le Kiosque et le tilleul, in their May 2008 issue.

The 2008 Two Lines annual will include my translation of Chapter 2 from Patrick Besson’s novel Les Frères de la Consolation, which I was lucky enough to give a reading of at last November’s ALTA conference.

I’m overjoyed to report these acceptances: these pieces were all turned down multiple places before finding homes thanks to kind editors, whom I shower with immeasurable thanks.

I’m especially delighted to have doubled, in the last month, the amount of Georges-Olivier Châteaureynaud available in English. He’s sort of my pet project author—a fabulist of considerable repute in France whom I’ve been trying to smuggle into my language for some time now. Two earlier stories others can be found online here and here, in case you’re interested. The Banff Centre has been kind enough to grant me a residency this June to continue work on a book-length anthology of stories drawn from several of his collections—an introductory reader of sorts, in which I hope to interest publishers. Any editors reading this, by chance?

It's Good to be in Newsarama

July 24th, 2008 § 1 comment § permalink

A late April review of a book that came out last October, posted in late July by a guy who hasn’t blogged in two months.

But seeing the amount of talent that ISR hosts Charlito and Mister Phil were able to assemble for this 200+ page book makes me want to hear what they’re talking about on their show. The table of contents on this thing is a Who’s Who of my favorite independent creators: Josh Cotter, Robin and Lawrence Etherington, Renee French, Sam Hiti, Blair Kitchen, Matt Kindt, Andy Runton; Ben Towle. And those are just the guys I already liked before I picked the book up. There are many more who I like now that I didn’t know much about before. Folks like Chris Schweizer, Ted Wilson, J. Chris Campbell, Sarah Oleksyk, Keith Champagne, Dev Madan, Jamie Burton, Hanvey Hsiung, Gia-Bao Tran, Dave Roman, and Raina Telgemeier…

Most of the work in this book got a positive reaction out of me though, even if it was just a feeling. Richard Tingley’s untitled story about a traveler who finds a dying badger in the woods, for example, doesn’t have much in the way of story, but it presents a beautiful, quiet, tender moment that I’m going to want to relive again. Similarly, Harvey Hsung and Gia-Bho Tran’s “We Are Not Alone” is difficult to follow, but does a beautiful job of creating a mood of tranquil wonder in its scenes of a still, urban night disturbed by an extraterrestrial visit.

Thank you, Chris Mautner Michael May! (apologies!)

L'homme cruel: Update

July 24th, 2008 § 0 comments § permalink

This brief text, posted here shortly after it was translated on 1/15, will appear, along with other selected texts by Roland Jaccard, in a 2009 issue of Absinthe: New European Writing, thanks to editor Dwayne Hayes, in a slightly altered form, thanks to a generous read by Barbara Harshav.  The author was kind enough to send me, in thanks, a copy of his latest book, a musing on Louise Brooks. I confess to not understanding the French fetish for Louise Brooks, which approaches their national love of Jerry Lewis, and remains less famous only because that silent actress hasn’t the household-name value of the comedian… perhaps this book will enlighten me.

The New Two Lines is Out

September 11th, 2008 § 0 comments § permalink

…and I’m a late poster, as usual. Grossman, Jull Costa, Venuti, Chris Andrews, Marilyn Hacker, Jessica Cohen, Alexis Levitin… what’s not to like?

Many sincere thanks to Franck Bessone and Kurt Bodden for graciously reading the excerpt from Patrick Besson’s Les Freres de la Consolation in the original French and my translation at the release party. Wish I could’ve been there!


The 15th anniversary volume of TWO LINES World Writing in Translation
Edited by John Biguenet and Sidney Wade

Strange Harbors

Strange Harbors

» Read the rest of this entry «

Recent Work

September 10th, 2008 § 0 comments § permalink

This last is referenced in a nicely detailed account of a manga fest in Germany.

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