Issue #18 of The Dr. T. J. Eckleburg Review, the first print edition, is now available for purchase. It features the Pushcart-nominated story “The Women Who Watch,” by Belgian fabulist Thomas Owen, first published in the online version of the same litmag last year. If you’d like to give it a listen instead,
Pete Milan can be heard reading it at the horror podcast Pseudopo
d, giving it all the creepiness it deserves. Here’s an excerpt:
A man was walking by: dreamy, so lost in thought that a blackbird, shooting by like a bullet, almost knocked him off-balance. He stopped, collected himself slowly. From where he stood, he could see the old lady in a sunbeam, spotlit like a person in a play…
Why had this little old stranger—banal, uninteresting, insignificant—caught his eye? As he drew closer, she lost her hieratic aspect. Remaining still all the while, stuck on an imaginary tack like a little gunner, she began to come alive in a remarkable way. Frozen there almost ominously, her gaze fixed on his, exerting a kind of magnetism. Such that, beneath their imperious interrogation, he submitted to what could only be called a strange enthrallment.
Sometimes such gazes meet your own: they seem to know you, seek to pierce your silence. And so, anywhere at all, you might stumble across such women, who stare at you as at someone familiar.
Also up at Anomalous this month in print and audio is Jean Ferry’s “A Tear in His Eye,” which begins with these bewitching words:
Who among us, at that age when we grow curious about fantastical tales, hasn’t been captivated by the story of that character who describes himself as endowed by the creator with the face of a hyena, lips of bronze, eyes of jasper, and a reproductive organ much closer to the deadly viper than a harmless phallus?
What are you waiting for? Go read! The issue can also be downloaded in its entirety in pdf or Kindle format, or as an mp3 audiobook.
The Translations page (in the left sidebar) is now fully up to date through mid-2013, including some forthcoming publications. – ed.
Huge congratulations to all my fellow PEN/Heim Translation Fund winners this year! My thanks to the PEN American Foundation, and to this year’s Advisory Board—Susan Bernofsky, Barbara Epler, Richard Sieburth, Lauren Wein, Eliot Weinberger, Natasha Wimmer, and Matvei Yankelevich, chaired by Michael F. Moore. I am very flattered to have my translations deemed “vivid and authoritative” in the press release, which includes a snippet from Jean Ferry’s story “The Garbagemen’s Strike.” The story is now available in its entirety for your reading pleasure online in the latest issue of Anomalous (#9). Wakefield Press will publish the prizewinning project, Jean Ferry’s only prose collection, The Conductor and Other Tales. It is due out in November. Click “Forthcoming” in the left sidebar for a fuller description.
That’s funding from PEN America and PEN England in the same year! Where else can you crow about that immodestly, if not on your own damn blog?
My translation of an excerpt from Jacques Gélat’s clever and charming 2006 novel Le traducteur is up at Words Without Borders in this month’s Postrevolution Iran issue. I did this piece in the summer of 2010, so I’m glad it’s finally seeing the light of day in a subsection on Writing about Translation.
As with all dramatizations, Gélat’s founding premise of forgotten punctuation is a bit of a stretch: practicing translators regularly rearrange punctuation, and how punctuation use differs between languages is one of much discussion among translators. However, his observations of what the act of translation can mean on a more metaphorical level are quite astute.
Every translator has dreamed of writing someday, and I was no exception. Sheets of paper have long dawdled in my drawers; diverse notes, vague plans for novels, even the beginning of a short story. But I’d always given up under the pretext of having a translation to start or finish. In truth these projects didn’t inspire me; they lent me no élan. Perhaps there would be a day for writing, but moreover, and most importantly, you must know just how daunting writing is for a translator.
I make definitive assertion: no one knows books better than we do. Readers, critics, editors—none of them know the weight of a word, the structure of a novel, its most intimate arrangements, as we translators do. I’ll go even farther: in many areas, writers themselves are less aware than we are of their work. Quite often their style, an instinctive reflection of their affect, gets away from them; they toss it onto the page, too busy to chase it down and make out the logic whose very workings we translators follow with a jeweler’s loupe.