Frederik Peeters’ Pachyderme in Publishers Weekly

February 5th, 2014 § 0 comments § permalink

Next month, UK indie comics dynamo SelfMadeHero will be releasing the first volume of Frederik Peeters’ ongoing far-future science fiction epic Aama in the US (it’s been available in the UK since the fall). The second volume of Aama won the prize for best series at Angoulême last year.

In case any readers out there want to read some other work by this creator in preparation for the upcoming release, here’s a glowing Publishers Weekly review of his last graphic novel, Pachyderme, which no less than Moebius himself called a masterpiece:

guided by her own future corpse, Madame Sorrel has a series of increasingly surreal encounters; corpses talk, spectral babies wander the halls, and hidden truths crawl towards the light. Caught in a dreamlike path that crisscrosses time itself, a confused and frightened Madame Sorrel struggles to understand her true situation; she faces a terrifying transformation but as the aged, dead Madame Sorrel assures herself, what is frightening and tragic from one perspective can be liberating from another. Each element in the story has purpose and meaning, one that invites close examination. Peeters is the winner of several European comics awards, and his work rises above mere period piece, offering the reader a story of painful growth and introspection. Masterfully translated by Edward Gauvin, Peeters’ tale of self-discovery is enthralling; in the author’s hands, Cold War paranoia and thoughtfully subverted realist art provides commentary on other kinds of secrets, other kinds of betrayals and the conflict between duty and need.

Always nice when reviewers take time to give a nod to the translator.


February is Comics Month at Words Without Borders

February 3rd, 2014 § 0 comments § permalink

February is comics month at Words Without Borders. This is the eighth year in a row they’ve brought graphic wonders from around the world in translation to American readers. I’m proud to have been a part of this effort right from the beginning, and have been lucky enough to have a piece in almost every one of these issues. I translated three excerpts you’ll find in this February’s issue:

  • in Jeanine, see Matthias Picard render a series of interviews with a Swiss prostitute that form a rather tender biography
  • watch Nicolas Wild smoke tariak in his Tehran travel memoir, Silent Was Zarathustra, at once an exploration of an ancient, renascent religion, Zorastrianism, and a true crime story into a professor’s murder
  • laugh when politics meets office comedy in Weapons of Mass Diplomacy by Christophe Blain and Abel Lanzac, a  roman à clef about speechwriting for former French Foreign Minister Dominique de Villepin.

That makes 33 pieces (not counting one by Anouar Benmalek that due to a limited-duration rights contract was taken down), I’ve translated for Words Without Borders since 2005! I’m proud to be such a close and frequent contributor to the magazine that spearheaded the movement for global literature in the United States.

To commemorate the number 8—always a favorite of mine—most of my posts this month will be comics-related.

Jean Ferry in Gigantic

February 1st, 2014 § 0 comments § permalink

Gigantic Mag

Gigantic, a magazine of short prose and art, is featuring two fictions by Jean Ferry, “My Aquarium” and “Rapa Nui.” Gigantic is one of those little magazines that can, or maybe it’s a little, big magazine? Or maybe it’s just plain huge. Certainly it’s tremendous. Check it out! If you like those Ferry pieces, be sure to take a peek at the Ferry collection now out from Wakefield Press.

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