Blog Archives

Tasting Sunlight

Autumn fruit. Pears, apples, grapes… the orchards and vineyards are bursting with golden light. Yet the light is fading. The first frost bites. That’s the English title for you, Tasting Sunlight. But in German, Ewald Arenz called it Alte Sorten,

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Posted in books, translation

Marzahn, Mon Amour

A podiatrist’s story. She stopped writing to start looking after other people’s feet. She needed to make a living. Her fellow authors were not impressed. But from that experience, she crafted some impressive portraits of people and place. When many

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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

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

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

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

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

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

Empty Hearts

The year is not that far into the future, near enough that it could almost be now, but far away enough that it really couldn’t, at least one hopes not. A bit like Black Mirror, perhaps. But the location of

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Posted in books, translation
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