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Articles tagged "Europe"

Fish Television

I was clouds transforming, a sinking billow. I wanted to stretch out; I threaded and spun myself across the ground floor to the tracks. In times of haphazard, interrupted sleep, I had always used the train station as my sleeping pill. The new ice-white high-speed train stood before the waiting passengers with its windows closed, a foreign being. No one knows what goes on inside its smooth skin. These creatures are called Schlingerlings in common parlance, after the nameless white snakes...

Patrick Ourednik’s “Case Closed”

Let’s start with a question: What do you think is the biggest-selling Czech book of all time? Kundera’s The Unbearable Lightness of Being? The Good Soldier Svejk, by Jaroslav Hasek? Something by Havel, Hrabal, Klima, or Skvorecky? Well, the answer is Patrik Ourednik’s slim and odd anti-novel, Europeana: A Brief History of the Twentieth Century, an accumulation of errata, statistics, and technical digressions that somehow manages to become both a gripping read and a...

The Languages of Alta Ifland

Alta Ifland’s writing raises important questions about the legitimacy and practice of autobiography that are too often taken for granted by American writers. In an alert literary age, the fifty-three thought-provoking short prose texts of her Voice of Ice / Voix de Glace would have attracted considerable attention outside the circles of small magazines and bookshop readings, in which this book indeed attracted attention when it came out in 2007. The author, described in a...

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mopete has read thomas mann

and so mopete has stopped in a bewitched interval of his soul, for him as if on a magic mountain where it's snowing everywhere, while many just sit and gaze out the window, boring themselves, idly elaborating theories about time. you can travel the well-worn path from the rooms on the ground floor— the dining room, for instance—to the rooms with numbers on the door where, from the terrace, you can admire the noble stillness of snow in the valley. and so mopete...

mopete and uniqueness

mopete, listening as a friend of his quotes wassily kandinsky, has a strange vision, a figment of his solitude—an ancient hypostasis, blotches without a trace of reality thrown upon the canvas on which, however, young nefa shines. young nefa: she is now very much not here—mopete will never invoke her name again. there seems to be nothing good in store for mopete. it's a desert, sort of, through which he keeps trudging on and on. right above his head, the...

deep meditation

vasilescu's father's friend has left the seaside to go to a monastery in the north. there in the mountains he wants to empty his mind of thought until it comes to entertain a notion of that provisional shadow cast by conscience, with its bitter residue of worldly time, like fruit kernels that pile up in a heap and make him count them, so that, here among the hills, he no longer can keep straight whether this evening is for real, or whether that tree elongated in shadow...

holiday pleasures

vasilescu's father's friend is playing with a beach ball. tentatively, he throws it toward the sea, gathers it in the shadow cast by his body, not minding the waves at his feet now breaking against the shingle. bandages of comfort unroll around him, around the wound of his thoughts open to the sun. after dinner he withdraws and, sitting in the shade, meditates. he reflects to himself that where this soon will have led, now that he's reached the limit, must be the sun...

the introduction of vasilescu’s father’s friend

mopete went to the theatre today. he took a girl, and vasilescu's father's friend saw him—called hello to him, too—mopete threw a meaningful, if too obvious glance at the girl beside him, and with a fixed look walked right by. the play proved to be of great interest. the girl at mopete's side—she wasn't young nefa—listened totally absorbed. mopete said to himself—now he'll have turned round to look at you—and put on an...

From “Paris–Athens”

To my father I. Silence I don't know when I started to write this book. I know that today is the 9th, I'm looking in my datebook: Sunday, November 9th, 1986, St. Theodore's day—no, I'm off by a week, today is only the 2nd, All Souls Day. I would have preferred to start on the 9th—Theodore is a Greek name. Oh, well; the Day of the Dead isn't bad, either. Actually, I didn't begin this book today. A year ago, perhaps. Perhaps twenty-five years ago,...

Spring

Spring this year arrived as clean as if in its Sunday best, and we felt embarrassed that we were still in our work clothes, our hands unwashed, with the dog in the barnyard mangy and shedding. And we didn't know whom to blame, Spring or ourselves, for being out of step. Beauty, says the old schoolteacher, should arrive unexpected, and cause a little discomfort. Translation of an untitled poem in the series "Maijs" [May] in Poēma par pienu [Poem of Milk]....

Sweating and Swearing in “Clash of Civilizations”

In the opening chapter of Amara Lakhous's gritty mosaic, Clash of Civilizations over an Elevator in Piazza Vittorio, Parviz Mansoor interrupts his rambling monologue to comment on the way language is used by the nosy doorwoman, Benedetta: Guaglio' is Benedetta's favorite word. As you know, guaglio' means "fuck" in Neapolitan. At least, that's what a lot of Neapolitans I've worked with have told me. Every time she sees me head for the elevator she starts...

An Introduction to Clash of Civilizations Over an Elevator in Piazza Vittorio

"Doesn't make any difference who we are or what we are," a cholera germ announces in one of Twain's stories, "there's always somebody to look down on!" No recent novel illustrates the truth of this axiom with more precision, intelligence, and humor than Amara Lakhous's Clash of Civilizations Over an Elevator in Piazza Vittorio, which is exactly what the title promises, except better. It's a satirical but not unsympathetic examination of the events leading up to a murder...

Tunnel

The roads I walked didn't tire me, the plans I formed to kill myself didn't work, I did not diminish one bit, I did not increase I forgot the night I died in your nakedness. I found myself like an inner pain I neither escaped from your murder nor died there was blood around, it felt cold, desolate . . . Carrying a tunnel's wind-rush in me I passed through the agony, throughout the road, in time's fragments they reckoned me a shiver and yet, except for a...

Water

I won't talk anymore, I won't say harsh words in the morning for a dream I embroider a flower of pearl on my bosom. I never knew, what you understood from my words, I spoke the forest's frightfulness the plain's tranquility silenced you slept a long sleep, I saw the dream. Unceasingly I spoke of a path: I'm water, I didn't forget my name I spoke of a mountain I came across while wandering; I didn't meddle with the world's affairs, the world does not...

Esterházy Per Se: A Translator’s Ball Game with a Postmodern Author

Just as there are user-friendly computers (they don't delete your latest text when you didn't mean to press the delete button, a dream!), user-friendly ovens (they ring when the roast is ready), and user-friendly scissors (left-handed!), so there are translator-friendly authors. And then, again, not. Some authors thumb their noses at the difficulties they are creating for the translator, and they are right to do so; their job is to write, the translator's is to translate. And...

An Interview with Péter Esterházy

Péter Esterházy is one of Hungary's foremost contemporary novelists, having won literary distinctions both at home and abroad. A number of his works, including Helping Verbs of the Heart, The Book of Hrabal, She Loves Me, and A Little Hungarian Pornography have all been translated into English. In this interview, we speak about some of the predominant themes in Esterházy's literature, particularly family and language. Esterházy hails from a long line...

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