The OF Blog: Four years later, blogging again about an author not (yet) available in English translation

Thursday, June 07, 2012

Four years later, blogging again about an author not (yet) available in English translation

The past few days I've been re-reading/reading some of the fiction of Serbian writer Goran Petrović.  Back on June 7, 2008, I wrote a column about him and his book (read then in Spanish as La Mano de la Buena Fortuna; The Lucky Hand Shop is a possible translation into English), Ситничарница Код спрћне руке.  It is a very good book, one that improved upon a re-read in 2010 (this time I read the Spanish translation in sentence-by-sentence parallel with the Serbian original).  Seeing how Petrović constructed his story at this level (as well as noting how the translator had to make adjustments to account for the shift into Spanish) heightened my enjoyment of his work.

In the interim, I have read two more books of his in Spanish translation, Atlas descrito por el cielo (Atlas Described by the Sky; currently re-reading it) and Diferencias (Differences in English), a short story collection (will be re-reading it later this month).  Earlier this week, I received both the Serbian Опсада Цркве Св. Спаса and its French translation, Le Siège de L'Église Saint-Sauveur (The Siege of the Church of the St. Salvation).  I began reading the two this afternoon and it is a very promising read.  Although I will have more to say about Petrović later, I thought it was enough of a coincidence that I did a blog search for him exactly four years after I first mentioned him here.

He certainly is an author that deserves a much higher profile in the English-speaking world, as his fiction is at turns evocative and ethereal.  There are mystical, dream-like qualities to the plots, characters, and even the writing, yet it feels as much "real" as it does "irreal."  Perhaps the strongest testimony I can give is that I wanted to read The Siege of the Church of the St. Salvation so much that I am concurrently reading it in my 5th and 8th best languages.  Two chapters in and it is proving to be well worth the labor of love where I'll be reading at the snail-like pace of perhaps two lines a minute.

Ever had authors you ever wanted to read that badly?

5 comments:

Adam Callaway said...

Definitely. Walter Moers would top my list of that. I get so impatient for his next book that I seriously contemplate relearning German so I can read them sooner.

Larry said...

Moers does write entertaining stories. I should brush up on my German sometime. It's slipped to maybe my 7th best (used to be my third).

Anonymous said...

Church of the Holy Savior, surely?

Kai in NYC

NF said...

Atlas Described by the Sky (in Russian) has been sitting on my shelf for over a decade, yet never making to the reading queue. That being corrected I can understand the challenge of its translation. Shining hell. :)

Larry said...

That's what I thought as well, but I was going by a translation elsewhere that had a similar title (The Siege of the St. Salvation Church).

And yes, the Atlas book is challenging for both translators and readers alike. That being said, it foreshadows what the author explored in his later novels :D

 
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