Blog Archives

Monsters and heroes: Beowulf

Dragons, magic, heaps of gold and jewels, superhuman strength, slaying monsters – both monsters who are slain and monsters who slay. In the ancient and modern senses of the word. It’s fun. It’s fantasy. It’s the perfect read for a

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Posted in books, poetry, translation

A window left open

If some of these poems feel like song lyrics, that’s because they are. Pentti Saarikoski’s best-loved work was set to music for the sixties folk group, Muksut. You can watch their original videos in the national treasure trove that is

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Posted in books, Dublin Literary Award, poetry

The lost soul – zgubiona dusza

The man was moving so fast he had completely forgotten why he was moving at all. So he went to see a wise woman. And the wise woman said, “Slow down. You have to wait for your soul to catch

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Posted in books, Illustration, Nobel Prize in Literature, translation

Grand Hotel

“People in a hotel” would be a literal translation of Vicki Baum’s groundbreaking novel. It’s nearly a century old now, but when she wrote it, she invented a whole new genre. What sort of people are staying in the hotel?

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Posted in books, film, history

And we came outside and saw the stars again

Reading about a pandemic while living through it is not everyone’s idea of staying safe and well (as we’ve wished for each other so often this year). There was a patch in the summer, however, where things were looking up

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Posted in books

Fifty islands I have not visited and never will

This is the subtitle to Judith Schalansky’s Atlas of Remote Islands. I discovered it eleven years late, because this year Marko Niemi translated it into Finnish. I ordered the German original straight away and despite the pandemic it arrived promptly

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Posted in books, history, Illustration, translation

When death takes something from you give it back

I read When Death Takes Something from You Give It Back on the train to the city where Naja Marie Aidt was raised, Copenhagen. She wrote it a long journey away from there, back in Brooklyn, where she now lives.

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Posted in books, translation

The memory police

They took the roses apart themselves, ripping them from their stems and casting the petals on the waters. Silently, purposefully. It was tragic, gardens shaped by decades of love and care destroyed in a moment, yet the people showed little

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Posted in books, Man Booker 2013, translation, Women in Translation Month

Little eyes

I have post-its over the camera on my laptop and my tablet – but not on my phone. Which seems silly as that’s the one that goes everywhere. Now I’m in more and more video meetings, the post-its fall off

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Posted in books, translation

Unquiet

When you lose someone, you try to hold onto them. You might wear their old clothes (and they might be rather too big). You might read things they’ve written (even if it’s just underlining or marginal notes in books they’ve

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Posted in books, translation
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