Category Archives: Reading in translation

Another Ironic Title: ‘Wonderful Wonderful Times’ by Elfriede Jelinek

The English-language title of Jelinek’s 1980 novel comes from the reminiscences of one of its characters, Herr Witkowski, a former SS officer in post-War Vienna.  Unlike his ex-colleagues, who are thriving in late 1950s Austria, he is a powerless cripple, … Continue reading

Posted in Elfreide Jelinek, Reading in translation | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

Marking the end of an era: ‘The Radetzky March’ by Joseph Roth

‘The Radetzky March’ has been on my reading list for simply ages.  Last summer I wrote about my expectations of Roth’s classic as ‘an Austro-Hungarian ‘War and Peace.’  I can now confirm that this is a terrible description of the … Continue reading

Posted in Joesph Roth, Reading in translation | 6 Comments

Finding the monster ‘Frankenstein in Baghdad’ by Ahmed Saadawi

Mary’s Shelly’s ‘Frankenstein‘ tells of a monster created by a hubristic scientist out of scavenged, beautiful body parts in a doomed attempt to demonstrate human ingenuity.  The result was an abomination who has nonetheless gone on to capture the hearts … Continue reading

Posted in Ahmed Saadawi, Gothic Literature, Man Booker International Prize 2018, Reading in translation | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

Another adulterous woman: ‘Effi Briest’ by Thoedor Fontane

This year I decided to collect the last of the set.  Arguably there are three great nineteenth-century adultery novels of which the French ‘Madame Bovary’ is the oldest and the Russian ‘Anna Karenina’ is the longest.  Fontane’s contribution to the … Continue reading

Posted in Reading in translation, Theodor Fontane, Uncategorized | Tagged , , | 7 Comments

‘It had been winter for God knows how long’ – ‘The Magic Mountain’ by Thomas Mann.

One of the best things about winter is the way it offers the perfect excuse for semi-hibernation, complete with self-indulgent eating, dozing and reading. It’s even better when the books you’re immersed in involve characters, in the depth of winter, … Continue reading

Posted in Nobel Prize for Literature, Reading in translation, Thomas Mann | Tagged , , | 6 Comments

When it’s hard to find words, ‘The White Book’ by Han Kang

My recent posts have been seasonally themed, in as much as V and Lanark work with my annual temptation to escape winter into imaginative flights of fancy.  Han Kang’s meditation on mourning is something else entirely. I read this book … Continue reading

Posted in Han Kang, Reading in translation | Tagged , , | 4 Comments

A Chilling Summer Read: ‘The Birds’ by Tarjei Vesaas

Tarjei Vesaas’ The Ice Palace was one of the most memorable reads from my immersion in Nordic literature last January.  After the magical and terrifying evocation of winter in that most chilling of Norwegian novels, I was fully prepared to shiver … Continue reading

Posted in Nordic literature, Reading in translation, Tarjei Vesaas | Tagged , , , | 8 Comments