Blog Archives

The German House

Surely, in the sixties, all Germans knew what had happened? Any German you meet in an international context will still, often enough, soon enough, apologise for their existence. Living in Germany in the 2000s, the flags were out for the

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Posted in books

Waiting for translation: Wolf River

It is two years and more since this pandemic began. In March 2020, it hadn’t knocked Europe out yet, but it was going to very soon. The signs were there. In March 2020, this book began. It hadn’t knocked me

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Posted in books, translation

Passio(n)

A tree of life gleams gold, rubies ready to be plucked from its branches. Around the trunk swirls a snake, ready to strike. Not life, then, but knowledge of good and evil. Plucking the rubies out, stripping the branches, is

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Tolkien’s Translator

Finland’s Gandalf is real. She forges fantastic fireworks, the like of which were never seen before. They dazzle the locals who’ve never been over the next hill – or heard of anyone under it. “You shall not pass!” she cries,

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Aino A!

Living in a building designed by Alvar Aalto is both unparalleled and uncomfortable. I have just moved out of Viitatorni (the “skyscraper” he finally got built in Jyväskylä after years of trying) into Säynätsalo Town Hall, into Säynätsalo Town Hall,

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Posted in books, translation

Go, went, gone

A white, male, comfortably-off, widowed professor at a Berlin university has just retired. He meets Black African men seeking asylum in Europe. He tries to find out about them, and to help them. Not new, perhaps. Isn’t the whole perspective

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Posted in books, translation

Lament for the Fallen

I am writing this as Afghanistan descends once more into horror. A tiny Welsh part of me still thinks “the bloody English colonials, look what they started and didn’t finish – again.” And you could read the Gododdin this way,

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Posted in books, history, literature, poetry

Waiting for Translation: Why We Matter

It shouldn’t frustrate me so much that a German book has an English title, but it does. This frustration encapsulates some of the struggle for intersectional justice that Emilie Roig exposes. So often concepts and terms are honed in English,

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Posted in books, gender

Women in Translation Month: The Map

Is this an adventure novel, war memoir, seven short stories, or one of those new approaches to history through objects? It’s all that and more. The real protagonist is not a person, but a map. Do you know Rembrandt van

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Posted in books, translation, Women in Translation Month

The Passenger

This book was written on the run. It captures that moment after 9 November 1938 where things got a lot worse for a lot of people, very rapidly. Ulrich Alexander Boschwitz, then aged 23, had made it out of Germany

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Posted in books, history, translation
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