Archive for the ‘Translations’ Category
Wednesday, April 17th, 2013
Harlequin’s Costume Synopsis
The year is 1871. Prince von Ahrensburg, Austria’s military attaché to St. Petersburg, has been killed in his own bed. The murder threatens diplomatic consequences for Russia so dire that they could alter the course of history. Leading the investigation into the high-ranking diplomat’s death is Chief Inspector Ivan Putilin, but the Tsar has also called in the notorious Third Department – the much-feared secret police – on the suspicion that the murder is politically motivated. As the clues accumulate, the list of suspects grows longer; there are even rumors of a werewolf at large in the capital. Suspicion falls on the diplomat’s lover and her cuckolded husband, as well as Russian, Polish and Italian revolutionaries, not to mention Turkish spies. True to his maxim that “coincidence and passion are the real conspirators,” Putilin seeks answers inside the diplomatic circus as well, which leads him to struggles with criminals and with the secret police itself. When the mystery is solved, the only person who saw it coming was Putilin.
Harlequin’s Costume is the first volume in a series whose main character is based on the real-life Ivan Putilin, the Tsar’s Chief of Police in St. Petersburg from 1866 to 1892. The entire trilogy, Chief Inspector Putilin, appeared as a mini-series on Russian television in 2007.
Brilliantly translated by Marian Schwartz, Harlequin’s Costume is now for the first time being published in English.
BOOK REVIEW by Tony Ziemek
Successful detective fiction creates a landscape (often an unfamiliar one) into which the reader is drawn and allowed to wander a little. The landscape is often strewn with incidental (or are they?), atmospheric details inviting our gaze, as we hunt for clues alongside the central character. Harlequin’s Costume exquisitely recreates 19th Century St Petersburg and is rich in such details.
Wednesday, April 3rd, 2013
Another Sun Synopsis
The sun-drenched Caribbean island of Guadeloupe is technically part of France, subject to French law and loyal to the French Republic. But in 1980, the scars of colonialism are still fresh, and ethnic tensions and political unrest seethe just below the surface of everyday life.
French-Algerian judge Anne Marie Laveaud relocated to this beautiful Caribbean island confident that she could make it her new home. But her day-to-day life is rife with frustration. Now she is assigned a murder case in which she is sure the chief suspect, an elderly ex-con named Hégésippe Bray, is a political scapegoat. Her superiors are dismissive of her efforts to prove Bray innocent, and to add insult to injury, Bray himself won’t even speak to her because she’s a woman. But she won’t give up, and Anne Marie’s investigations lead her into a complex tangle of injustice, domestic terrorists, broken hearts, and maybe even voodoo. (Amazon)
Another Sun is actually an English translation (by the author himself) of the novel Un Autre Soleil, originally published in French in 2011. It comes after a long hiatus for Timothy Williams who had commercial success with the Commissario Trotti Italian mystery series in the 1980s and 1990s. (more…)
Monday, March 18th, 2013
Scribe Publications have just released three masterworks of twentieth-century literature by Hans Fallada, the best-selling author of Alone in Berlin.
Little Man, What Now? — Written just before the Nazis came to power, this darkly enchanting novel tells the story of a young German couple trying to eke out a decent life amidst an economic crisis that is transforming their country into a place of anger and despair.
Wolf among Wolves — This sweeping saga of the collapse of a culture — its economy and government — and the common man’s struggle to survive it all is an immensely absorbing work of literature. Fast-moving as a thriller and fascinating as the best historical fiction.
The Drinker — This astonishing, autobiographical tour de force, discovered after Hans Fallada’s death, tells the tale — often fierce, poignant, and extremely funny — of a small businessman losing control as he fights valiantly to blot out an increasingly oppressive society.
Scribe have been kind enough to send me a copy of Little Man, What Now? for review,
plus this entire 3 Book Hans Fallada Pack + Book Bag to giveaway to one lucky reader from either Australia or New Zealand.
Saturday, February 2nd, 2013
Shadow of the Wind Synopsis
Barcelona, 1945: A city slowly heals in the aftermath of the Spanish Civil War, and Daniel, an antiquarian book dealer’s son who mourns the loss of his mother, finds solace in a mysterious book entitled The Shadow of the Wind, by one Julián Carax. But when he sets out to find the author’s other works, he makes a shocking discovery: someone has been systematically destroying every copy of every book Carax has written. In fact, Daniel may have the last of Carax’s books in existence. Soon Daniel’s seemingly innocent quest opens a door into one of Barcelona’s darkest secrets — an epic story of murder, madness, and doomed love. (Amazon)
Sunday, January 27th, 2013
With the publication of Kitchen, the dazzling English-language debut that is still her best-loved book, the literary world realized that Yoshimoto was a young writer of enduring talent whose work has quickly earned a place among the best of contemporary Japanese literature.
Kitchen is an enchantingly original book that juxtaposes two tales about mothers, love, tragedy, and the power of the kitchen and home in the lives of a pair of free-spirited young women in contemporary Japan. Mikage, the heroine, is an orphan raised by her grandmother, who has passed away. Grieving, Mikage is taken in by her friend Yoichi and his mother (who is really his cross-dressing father) Eriko. As the three of them form an improvised family that soon weathers its own tragic losses, Yoshimoto spins a lovely, evocative tale with the kitchen and the comforts of home at its heart.
In a whimsical style that recalls the early Marguerite Duras, “Kitchen” and its companion story, “Moonlight Shadow,” are elegant tales whose seeming simplicity is the ruse of a very special writer whose voice echoes in the mind and the soul. (Amazon)
Wednesday, January 2nd, 2013
The Bat Synopsis
Harry is out of his depth.
Detective Harry Hole is meant to keep out of trouble. A young Norwegian girl taking a gap year in Sydney has been murdered, and Harry has been sent to Australia to assist in any way he can.
He’s not supposed to get too involved.
When the team unearths a string of unsolved murders and disappearances, nothing will stop Harry from finding out the truth. The hunt for a serial killer is on, but the murderer will talk only to Harry.
He might just be the next victim.
Thursday, December 27th, 2012
The Scream Synopsis
The apparently simple story of a toll-collector who works in a booth on the motorway, watching people come and go, while his life remains static. But then an invisable force begins taking over, its only tell-tale sign, a terrible, obliterating sound like a scream, that seems to come from nowhere. As time goes by, the flow of traffic on the motorway slows and diminishes. The world appears to be coming to an end…
An ode to love and loss comparable to the work of Samuel Beckett, in which everything is both ordinary and extraordinary and every man is truly an island…
Translated by Cheryl Robson and Claire Alejo (Aurora Metro Books)