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You can be a bit freer—no, why is it more fun to translate? I feel like with poetry you can … I spend longer on each word. I spend a lot more time per word on poetry than in a novel. You can’t pore over a novel in quite the same way you can with a book of poetry. And I do feel that translating poetry, there’s a little bit more room for “freedom” in the translation process. The emphasis is at least as much on sound and rhythm as it is on meaning. It’s not that that isn’t there in novels, but the balance of power is a little bit more on meaning in a novel. Very concrete and specific things are happening and those things need to be conveyed, relatively accurately, so that the reader isn’t confused, or else the novel is no longer effective. It’s more just about that balance of where the energy is going.
—Kareem James Abu-Zeid in an interview with Three Percent, on translating Najwan Darwish’s Nothing More To Lose
To read the rest of the interview, visit Three Percent's website.
Best news ever: Beloved Finnish artist Tove Jansson, creator of the iconic Moomin series, will be gracing a new Euro coin.
To celebrate, here are Jansson’s enchanting vintage illustrations for Alice in Wonderland and The Hobbit.
Our new collection of Jansson’s short stories (none before available in the US), The Woman Who Borrowed Memories, with an introduction by Lauren Groff, comes out this fall.
10 Crime Writers to Read Now -
Jane Ciabattari’s picks, including Leonardo Sciascia, “one of the first writers who dared to reveal how the mafia controlled small towns in his native Sicily.”
The author’s charming and useful tendency to lose track of his destination became a serious real-life problem in the case of the books about the walk across Europe—the most beloved of his works, which have achieved the status of cult classics particularly among adventure-bent youth…. However many the detours, Leigh Fermor’s youthful journey did have a destination, which the author finally reached: he got to ‘Constantinople’ on New Year’s Eve, 1935, a little shy of his twenty-first birthday. — In case you missed it: Daniel Mendelsohn wrote about the concluding volume of Patrick Leigh Fermor's legendary trilogy, as well as PLF's “helpless penchant for digressions literal and figurative” in the June 19, 2014 issue of The New York Review of Books
I asked one of the monks how he could sum up, in a couple of words, his way of life. He paused a moment and said, “Have you ever been in love?” I said, “Yes.” A large Fernandel smile spread across his face. “Eh bien,” he said, “c’est exactement pareil …”
—Patrick Leigh Fermor, A Time to Keep Silence
As always: If you have a photo of an NYRB Classic posed with a cup of coffee or tea, send it to this address and we’ll add it to the Classics and Coffee Club series. And let us know where you bought or borrowed the book from—we’d be glad to shout out places that stock and lend NYRB Classics.
Mothers were shielding their children by covering them with their bodies. The whole mass was shrieking. Thompson was doubled over with laughter.
—Jean-Patrick Manchette, The Mad and the Bad, translated by Donald Nicholson-Smith
The Mad and the Bad goes on sale today.
He liked his cake sweeter. And he usually drank his coffee with whipped cream and a dash of vanilla. The waiter would have none of it.
—Georges Simenon, The Man Who Watched Trains Go By
Barista privilege, c. 1938
Got a shot of a cup of coffee and an NYRB Classic? Send it to this address and we’ll add it to the Classics and Coffee Club series. And let us know where you bought or borrowed the book from—we’d be glad to shout out places that stock NYRB Classics.
In that court I could hear…the schools [that] were started so as to teach us how to say ‘Yes’ in their language. —
Tayeb Salih, Season of Migration to the North
Sudanese writer Tayeb Salih would have turned 85 on July 12th. The Arabic LIterature blog has two posts in celebration:
On Tayeb Salih’s 85th Birthday
Translator Denys Johnson-Davies on How Tayeb Salih Got His Start
Bartók was what he played, Bartók and Telemann. But what moved him was Wasting Away Again in Margaritaville. What lifted his spirits one season was I’ve Got a Pair of Brand New Roller Skates, You’ve Got a Brand New Key.
—Renata Adler, Pitch Dark
Purchased at Strand Bookstore in New York City.
As always: If you have a photo of an NYRB Classic posed with a cup of coffee or tea, send it to this address and we’ll add it to the Classics and Coffee Club series. And let us know where you bought or borrowed the book from—we’d be glad to shout out places that stock NYRB Classics.
Maine, Caribou and Moosehead, awesome, rare creatures. In midsummer, ruthless, weedy wildflowers, berries hanging from the boughs of mountains ash, starlings in the alders, the spidery brambles of old blackberry bushes. A rush of heat enters the town like the roar of motorcycles on Sunday. Sunset nevertheless will bring a cool wind that rattles the windows. The islands are filled with well-to-do frosty American specimens, summering. Someone water-skis on the bay and the sight is almost indecorous. If the heat continues then the wilderness will be threatened with drought and fire. It is not possible to have a true summer without excess up here in the north; the excess that is summer threatens the natural damp, windy woods which, even if you have never seen them, are always present in your mind.
—Elizabeth Hardwick, Sleepless Nights
And as always: If you have a photo of an NYRB Classic posed with a cup of coffee or tea, send it to this address and we’ll add it to the Classics and Coffee Club series. And let us know where you bought or borrowed the book from—we’d be glad to shout out places that stock NYRB Classics.
…the only place where you can regain lost paradises, Céleste, is in yourself.
—Marcel Proust, to Céleste Albaret, his housekeeper and the author of Monsieur Proust.
(Image: Marcel Proust (right) and his brother Robert / Collection of Céleste Albaret)