by Lee Cross
I’m not sure how you feel about Translated lit. I know for some people it’s a real corner stone of the stuff that makes it onto their ‘to be read’ pile; others who buy the books, put them on the pile but never manage to take them off again; and people who don’t bother at all…unless the books are made into a movie of course – then the rules change.
‘Multiples…’, edited by Adam Thirwell, might be what changes the way you view books translated into the English language forever. Or maybe it won’t but it will, at the very least, demonstrate the skill involved, the artistic license required and the mutations to a story that can sometimes take place at the translators hand.
Everything you need to know about the book is in the title. It’s a collection of obscure short stories, being brought into and out of the English Language; my personal favourite is Kenji Miyazawa’s fable about ‘The Earth Giant’ – translated from the original Japanese.
If, like me, you love ‘translations’, this is a book you should certainly take the time to read it slowly from cover to cover, enjoying the subtle nuances of the art as your mind comes to understand them on its own terms.
If the reverse is true, I’d still say pick it up and give it a shot. It’s a collection of short stories after all, choose the one you find most appealing (…or go with my suggestion above, if you can’t decide…) and give it a try, maybe you’ll like it… who knows, you could even end up with ‘piles’.