The OF Blog: One final Zafón passage before a longer review

Monday, January 12, 2009

One final Zafón passage before a longer review

There is more to these translations than just providing tantalizing glimpses into what may be a fascinating novel, as I plan to write a second, lengthier review of Carlos Ruiz Zafón's The Angel's Game sometime this week/weekend and I shall be incorporating elements of these posts into that review. On with the passage, this time from near the end of Part II:

Abandoné el trabajo para el patrón aquella misma mañana. Mientras Cristina dormía subí al estudio y guardé la carpeta que contenía todas las páginas, notas y apuntes del proyecto en un viejo baúl que había junto a la pared. Mi primer impulso había sido prenderle fuego, pero no tuve el valor. Toda mi vida había sentido que las páginas que iba dejando a mi paso eran parte de mí. La gente normal trae hijos al mundo; los novelistas traemos libros. Estamos condenados a dejarnos la vida en ellos, aunque casi nunca lo agradezcan. Estamos condenados a morir en sus páginas y a veces hasta a dejar que sean ellos quienes acaben por quitarnos la vida. Entre todas las extrañas criaturas de papel y tinta que había traído a este miserable mundo, aquélla, mi ofrenda mercenaria a las promesas del patrón, era sin duda la más grotesca. No había nada en aquellas páginas que mereciese otra cosa que el fuego y, sin embargo, no dejaba de ser sangre de mi sangre y no tenía el coraje de destruirla. La abandoné en el fondo de aquel baúl y salí del estudio apesadumbrado, casi avergonzado de mi cobardía y de la turbia sensación de paternidad que me inspiraba aquel manuscrito de tinieblas. Probablemente el patrón hubiese sabido apreciar la ironía de la situación. A mí, simplemente, me inspiraba náusea. (pp. 467-468)
Now for my English translation, doubtless less florid than Zafón's Spanish:

I abandoned the work for the patron that same morning. While Cristina slept I went up to the studio and I put away the binder that contained all the pages, notes, and outlines of the project in an old trunk that was there next to the wall. My first impulse had been to set it on fire, but I didn't have the courage. All my life I had felt as though the pages I was leaving behind were a part of me. Normal people bring sons into the world; novelists bring books. We are condemned to leave our lives in them. We are condemned to die in their pages and sometimes even to let them end our lives. Among all the strange creatures of paper and ink that I had brought into this miserable world, that one, my mercenary offering to the promises of the patron, was without doubt the most grotesque. There was nothing in those pages that merited anything else but the fire and, however, it stopped not being blood of my blood and I hadn't the courage to destroy it. I abandoned it in the bottom of the trunk and left the studio heavyhearted, almost ashamed of my cowardice and of the murky sensation of paternity that manuscript of darkness inspired [in] me. Probably the patron had known to appreciate the irony of the situation. For me, simply, it inspired nausea.
Next post in this series will tie all of these translations into a thematic whole. Excited or feeling blasé about the entire thing?


Anonymous said...

As usual, Zafon himself would not object to your translation, as it captures the spirit of his work unpolluted.

I object to a couple of turn-of word choices but you already know which and for what reasons, keep up the good work, as yours is trully an act of love.

Be sure to translate all of it, I'll even PAY for the book ;)


Larry Nolen said...

Well, yeah, I know, I know...translator, traitor, and all that ;) But since the commercial rights have been sold, I'll perhaps just use this to hone my skills...and maybe tackle Moya soon? ;)

Anonymous said...

I have the feeling Moya has already been translated to English, however, the mordacity, the strenght of the irony and sarcasm in the writting has probably been lost.

A perfect drill for you, traductor ;)

Plus, I'd enjoy that no end.


Larry Nolen said...

Well, I'm almost certain Tirana memoria hasn't yet been translated, since it was only published in September ;)

Although I might just go with Negrete first.

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