Happy Thanksgiving to all American readers! Ahead of Black Friday and Civilised Saturday (the antidote to Black Friday proposed by some booksellers in the UK), here are some book recommendations from the Asymptote Blog staff.
The Fly Trap by Fredrik Sjöberg, translated by Thomas Teal—reviewed by blog editor Ryan Mihaly
Fredrik Sjöberg’s excellent nature-memoir The Fly Trap, translated by Thomas Teal, caught me completely off guard. I did not expect to be so enthralled by the musings of a fly collector (properly, an entomologist) who lives alone on an island in Sweden. The book is unforgettable from the very first line: “It was during the time I wandered the streets near Nybroplan with a lamb in my arms.” The first chapter details Sjöberg’s brief stint with a community theatre where he was responsible for carrying a lamb to the set every day, because the director of the play refused to use a mechanical lamb. This bizarre and beautiful chapter serves as a brief prelude to his even stranger life collecting flies. READ MORE…
Hot off the digital presses! Asymptote‘s new October issue is live—and completely, utterly alive and alight with literary voices from around the world. This season’s issue is especially star-studded—featuring star writers like Yves Bonnefoy, Sjón, and Thomas Stangl—but it’s equally stuffed with brilliant, lucid literary voices you simply haven’t heard of . . . yet. That’s where translation (and Asymptote) comes in.
But with so many gems of fiction, poetry, nonfiction, we get it—you might be overwhelmed at the prospect of so. much. reading. So if you’re sneaking a read at work (psst—we won’t tell), here are five quick reads sure to make the time pass more quickly:
1. Roland Glasser on translating Fiston Mwanza Mujila’s Tram 83, by Roland Glasser
The difficulty of translating is something not only every budding translator but every writer can relate to all too well. The struggle of finding the right word, regardless of the language, is something that Robert Glasser iterates very clearly in the essay. Whether it’s a thin, overworked, minor-miner (known as a biscotte in French slang) or a slim-jim, as Glasser translates it—the right word at the right time can mean a world of difference.
Glasser understands this endeavor, and succeeds at illuminating the translation quagmires in Fiston Mwanza Mujila’s Tram 83. The scenes of “melting-pot” Parisian people, food, and culture flow throughout the piece, juxtaposing the worlds people have left behind with the world of the novel being translated. Reading this piece is a surefire way to get excited, not only about Glasser’s writing, but also his translation of Tram 83, released on September 8th, 2015, by Deep Vellum. —Allegra Rosenbaum, asssistant blog editor READ MORE…