Oneiron

Lindstedt_Oneiron_cover

When you’ve got a Man Booker International winner (Marlon James) on your books, you could sit back and relax. Or you could find the next big thing before it happens.

That’s what Oneworld has done, buying the world English rights to Laura Lindstedt’s Oneiron, which won the Finlandia Prize last year. The first translations into a dozen languages will be out later this year.

And I’ve just finished reading it. And so should you.

Oneiron tells the story of seven women who meet in a strange white space after death. It grips you from the start – the women know that they are rapidly losing all bodily sensation. So when the seventh arrives (reborn?) through a numbing, disorienting fog, they make sure she enjoys feeling, while she can. That first section is written in the ‘you’ form, as if the reader was the seventh woman experiencing all this.

The women could not be more different: Performance artist Shlomith from New York, chief accountant Polina from Moscow, heart transplant patient Rosa Imaculada from Brazil, upper-crust Nina of Marseilles who is expecting twins, cancer patient Wlbgis from the Netherlands, aspiring model Maimuna from Senegal and Austrian teenager Ulrike.

They have to find a way of ‘living’together after life, but before death. They share their life stories up to the last minute. So in the book, unlike when they were alive, there is someone to say goodbye and watch them go. The book ends with newspaper reports of their deaths, many of which were violent.

In her controversial Finlandia acceptance speech, Lindstedt seized the opportunity to criticize government cutbacks and growing class divisions and appeal for social solidarity, rather than “sprinkling verbal confetti” as she herself put it.

But she did thank her characters. As she said (my translation), they had to fight. “For us who are still alive, our life is a passing phase in which we must take the opportunity to show our solidarity. We will not get another chance.”

 

Tagged with: , , , , , ,
Posted in books, translation
2 comments on “Oneiron
  1. tomdawkes says:

    An interesting scenario: I assume some of the reviews have commented that “oneiron” is the Greek word for dream. I’m not sure which of “unelma” or “haave” would be the better translation

  2. […] Linstedt, Oneiron won the Finlandia Prize for literature last year and is being translated into English right now, […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

w

Connecting to %s

advent Alice in Wonderland American And Other Stories Antonia Lloyd-Jones Arabic Argentina Barańczak Beowulf Berlin Best Translated Book Award Bible books Brazil Brazilian Portuguese British British Library Buddhism Catalan Catalonia Children's Books Chinese Christmas Carols Clare Cavanagh Clarice Lispector Contemporary Czesław Miłosz Dari David Hackston Dublin Literary Award Edinburgh Festival English Estonian Facebook Fantasy Farsi Fiction Finland Finland 100 Finnish Flemish Free Word Centre French George Szirtes German Greek Hebrew Herbert Lomas Herta Müller history Hobbit Hungarian Iceland Icelandic Idioms Illustration India international International Translation Day Italian J. R. R. Tolkien Japanese Jenny Erpenbeck Jewish Johanna Sinisalo Korean Language language learning Languages Latin Literature Lola Rogers Mabinogion Man Booker International Prize Maori Maria Turtschaninoff Moomins New Year Nobel Prize Nobel Prize for Literature Old English Owen Witesman Oxford English Dictionary PEN Translation Prize Persian Philip Boehm Phoneme Media Poetry Poetry Translation Centre Polish Portuguese Pushkin Press Queer Romanian Rosa Liksom Russian Russian Revolution Salla Simukka Seamus Heaney Second World War Shakespeare Short Stories Sofi Oksanen Spanish Stanisław Barańczak Suomi100 Susan Bernofsky Svetlana Alexievich Swedish Switzerland Thomas Teal Tibetan Tove Jansson Translation translator Translators Without Borders Valentine's Day Wales Warsaw Welsh Wisława Szymborska Witold Szabłowski Women in Translation Month words Words without Borders

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Follow found in translation on WordPress.com
%d bloggers like this: