. . . but they have no interest in real combat, when the great masters struggle against that something, that something that terrifies us all, that something that cows us and spurs us on, amid blood and mortal wounds and stench.

03 February 2010

Natasha Wimmer

About to start The Part About Archimboldi, I am just killing time here while I await the big discussion to commence February 15. I certainly do not intend to dictate a reading of any particular passage from the first three parts. There is an implicit question mark behind everything I write. I would certainly love to hear from anyone who has read anything differently than I.

My personal problem is that I never know what I think about something until I read what I've written about it, as Faulkner said.

By the way, the phrase is Traduttore, tradittore in Italian. (“Translator, traitor.”) It is apparently just an old Italian saying, the source of which is lost somewhere in antiquity--recently resuscitated and used for effect by Umberto Eco.

I am now nearly as much an admirer of Natasha Wimmer as I am of Bolaño himself. I would not be reading him if it were not for her. I cannot help but try to imagine her state of mind as she labored in solitude over the translation of these graphic sexual passages and, even more so, the translation of the grim, grim passages portraying sexually-related violence. She earned whatever money she was paid for this effort.

Here is abrief but informative article about Natasha Wimmer in Publishers Weekly.

My Mexican friend, Adriana, is reading the book in Spanish. Occasionally, she looks into my copy and is very enthusiastic about the job Natasha Wimmer has done.

Adriana's copy is one published by Bolaño's original house in Barcelona, Editorial Anagrama. It is a perfectly beautiful book. The paper feels like silk, the typeface is black, black, black, and immaculate, and the binding is quality stuff. Unfortunately, it was a bit expensive, too.

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