At twighlight they return

greece2012

Time moves in a spiral, as each birth or death is connected to the ones before it and the ones after it. The old stories and the old ways are still very much alive – change is only just about to come. In the mountains of northern Greece, not so far from her hometown of Thessaloniki, Zyranna Zateli set these ten tales: At Twilight they Return. David Connolly, from the same adopted hometown, has made a wonderfully idiomatic translation, published a few weeks ago by Yale University Press.

The stories of this ever-expanding clan interweave with the myths of their ancestors and sagas of the gods, to comic and tragic effect.

zateliconnollytwilight59

Birth and death could not be more closely interlinked, which is far from surprising in a time when so many women died in childbirth.zateliconnollytwilight167

Going back to normal, the cycle begins again, always the same but always different, and closely bound to the turn of the seasons and the natural environment.

zateliconnollytwilight368

Only at the very end of the book do the times start to change – the Macedonian conflict of the 1900s sweeps into the family’s life:

zateliconnollytwilight426

Like the people and languages that populate them, like any family’s stories, the tales in these book blend together. It’s easy to mix up great aunts and new babies with the same names, not so easy to separate the generations, or ‘reality’ from legend. There are some extraordinary, tragic, vicious,  dark and delightful characters. For some stories, once is enough, but you won’t forget them in a hurry: what Lily did to Orhan, for example, or the man in the walnut tree, or the baby that flew into the holly bush. But how Julia got her blue sandals, or Eftha and the snakes, or the day the grownups went to school – those ones are worth retelling again and again.

Tagged with: , , , , ,
Posted in books, translation

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 )

Twitter picture

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

Facebook photo

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

Google+ photo

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

Connecting to %s

advent Alice in Wonderland American And Other Stories Antonia Lloyd-Jones Arabic Argentina Barańczak Beowulf Best Translated Book Award Bible books Brazil Brazilian Portuguese British British Library Buddhism Central Europe Children's Books Children's literature Chinese Christmas Christmas Carols Clare Cavanagh Clarice Lispector Contemporary Czesław Miłosz Dari Edinburgh Festival English Estonian Europe Facebook Fantasy Farsi Fiction Finland Finland 100 Finnish Flemish Free Word Centre French friends George Szirtes German Greek Hebrew Herbert Lomas Herta Müller history Hobbit Hungarian Idioms Illustration international International Translation Day Italian J. R. R. Tolkien Japanese Jenny Erpenbeck Jewish Johanna Sinisalo Korean Language language learning Languages Latin left-handed Literature Lola Rogers Lord of the Rings Mabinogion Man Booker International Prize Maori Maria Turtschaninoff Mirkka Rekola Moomins New Year Nobel Prize Old English Oxford English Dictionary PEN Translation Prize Persian Philip Boehm Phoneme Media Pippi Longstocking Poetry Poetry Translation Centre Polish Portuguese pubilc libraries Queer Roald Dahl Romanian Rosa Liksom Russian Ryszard Kapuściński Salla Simukka Seamus Heaney Shakespeare Short Stories Slovene Spanish Stanisław Barańczak Susan Bernofsky Svetlana Alexievich Swedish Switzerland Terhi Ekebom Thomas Teal Tibetan Tove Jansson Translation translator Translators Without Borders Turkey 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: