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Foucault in Warsaw

In Warsaw in 1958, Foucault was writing his History of Madness. Then, it was his PhD, and he was the first director of the university’s French Cultural Centre. Within a year, he’d left Poland. Was Jurek, his mystery lover, to

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Posted in books, translation

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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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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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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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

Daughters

Is this a road trip or a journey back in time? The German and English covers of Töchter/Daughters tell the same story in different ways. Just getting into the car and driving south to get away from it all –

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Posted in books, gender, translation

Waiting for translation: Margarita

A real old-school holiday resort. Sauna, muscle-reviving massage for the old biddies with health problems, berry and mushroom picking, rowboats to the island in the middle of the lake, home-cooked food with produce from the estate. A local community where

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