Pia Tafdrup's new collection Lugten af sne (The Smell of Snow) will be published by Gyldendal in May 2016.
One of the poems from the new book can be read in my translation here.
Kineserne betragter metallet som et element. Jeg holdt mig til den vestlige tankegang i kvartetten, men metallet blev ved at spøge og dukker op i denne bog, hvor den knytter sig til smagssansen. I digtet vises forbindelsen mellem flere elementer, dels når de forholder sig produktivt til hinanden, dels destruktivt. En cyklus, der kan gå begge veje. Det produktive kan afføde mere positiv produktion, men kan også slå om i sin negation, så det destruktive tager over. Det er to sæt af kræfter, vi må forholde os til, to forskellige kræfter, der griber ind i vores liv.The Chinese view metal as an element. I stuck to the Western way of thinking in the quartet, but metal continued to haunt it and it shows up in this book, where it is linked to the sense of taste. In the poem the connection of several elements appears, partly when they relate productively to each other and partly when they do so destructively. A cycle that can go either way. The productive can generate more positive production, but can also turn into its negation, so that the destructive takes over. There are two sets of forces we must relate to, two different forces that intervene in our lives.
is the first book to focus solely on literary translation from, to, and between the Nordic tongues. The book is divided into three main sections. These are novels, children’s literature, and other genres – encompassing drama, crime fiction, sagas, cookbooks, and music – although, naturally, there are connections and overlapping themes between the sections. Halldór Laxness, Virginia Woolf, Selma Lagerlöf, Astrid Lindgren, Mark Twain, Henrik Ibsen, Henning Mankell, Janis Joplin, and Jamie Oliver are just some of the authors analysed. Topics examined include particular translatorial challenges; translating for specific audiences or influencing audiences through translation; re-translation; the functions of translated texts; the ways in which translation can change a genre; the creation of identity through translation; and more.(from the publisher's book description)
For all its thought-provoking content, the translation is uneven: “The nurse was tending to the child tenderly,” could have been rendered using a verb and an adjective that do not share the same root, for example. Likewise, it would be unlikely that a seven-year-old character would refer to his class art display as an “exhibition.” However, at other times, the translation fits with the story and showcases the author’s way with words, as in this description of an airplane accident: “And like a black goose that had been shot, the enormous plane crash-landed on the gravel airfield.” Or this ironic phrase that expresses a role reversal of a father and his terminally ill daughter: “[She] sat there in her wheelchair like a solemn old woman expressing her approval of her well-behaved grandson.”
Overall, in this elegant collection, Gunnarsson’s stories succeed.
Lately I’ve discovered that my husband’s head opens at the back. I hadn’t noticed that before. There’s a hatch there. When Jaan comes home after a tiring day at work, he opens the hatch and takes his brains out. They steam on the table, but Jaan stretches his legs out on the sofa and looks at me with his happy, drowsy eyes.