Category: English

Pauli Ahtisaari turns 60

By Hobo Highbrow

highbrow@lowbrow.com

Pauli Ahtisaari turns 60 today. It’s incredible. Most people think the eccentric author is at least 85, because it’s like he has always been around. I met him once in Helsinki, and although I have tried to forget about him since I haven’t. 

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What happened to Fjodor? – A blog conversation with Pål H. Christiansen and Felix Janosa

Fjodor and Palle taking a walk under water

by Annette Schwindt

When I met Pål in 2007, the second volume of his children’s book series about the naughty fish Fjodor was published in Norway. Three years later I managed to interest the German publishing company Terzio in the growing series. Terzio started with great enthusiasm to produce a series modelled after the legendary Ritter Rost. They shortened the Norwegian stories a bit and Ritter Rost’s composer Felix Janosa himself added the songs.

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Sonhos de Grandeza

Follow the translation in progress to Portuguese by Igor Brito of Pål H. Christiansen novel Drømmer om storhet (The Scoundrel Days of Hobo Highbrow):

  • Capitulo 1-2 pdf : “O outono era definitivamente minha estação. Um momento de reflexão. Um momento de ponderar os grandes questionamentos existenciais. De reiniciar aquilo que eu havia deixado pra trás,quando a primavera me prendeu em sua luz e ao cântico de seus pássaros. Quando escrevi meus melhores trabalhos que não fossem no outono? Sob a luz dispersa de minha velha luminária, vestindo um paletó caseiro, as palavras criavam asas, caindo como a chuva no asfalto escuro lá fora.”
  • Capitulo 3 pdf: “O a-ha sabia. Eles sentiram a apetência análoga às edições modernas de Knut Hamsun em Londres, como ratos entre monturos e extratos da cidade. Viveram na esperança e na certeza de que tinham algo muito grande para a pequena Noruega, como uma força que explodira no peito, a voejar alto sobre o fariasísmo social-democrático da Noruega. É claro que os problemas perfilavam-se, porém eles combatiam-nos. Há quem diga que tratara de sorte. Não para eles. Tinha a ver com talento e como o discernimento de Harket, Furuholmen e Waaktaar foram concebidos num só.”
  • Capitulo 4 pdf:  “- Não viste meus discos do a-ha por aí? – eu disse.
    – Já olhaste debaixo do sofá? – perguntou Haagen, um tanto quanto vago, porém pelo menos teve uma proposta.
    Olhei para onde um dia o sofá lá esteve. Vi um par de meias ímpares cobertas pelo pó e mais alguma coisa semelhante à torradas e queijo de cabra. Ou seria patê de fígado de cerdo? Até onde podia lembrar, eu não tinha tais itens em casa, e também não pretendia ir a fundo no caso.

More soon!

Translator Igor Brito and Paul Waaktaar Savoy.

 

Title photo: Author Pål H. Christiansen in Ouro Preto, Brazil, 1982.

Fjodor for President

Who do you want?

imagesHillary Clinton?

Donald Trump?

 

 

 

 

No!

You want                                                                                 img_6362           for President!

-Because he’s nastier.

          -Because he smells like fish.

   -Because he can swim.

            -Because he loves icecream.

fjodor_og-palle_2

 

 

 

 

Humle & Honning goes to Germany

It took 15 years from when my poetic and naivistic novel Humle & Honning was published by Tiden Norsk Forlag in Oslo to it finally being translated to German and being published as an e-book by Saga Egmont this year.

I remember when my publisher Tiden Norsk Forlag went to the Frankfurt Book Fair in 2001. They had made big posters of the covers of the two titles they would expose most heavily at the fair. Humle & Honning was one of them. The posters were glued on cardboard, and I wondered how they would manage to bring them all the way by plane to Frankfurt without damaging them.

Hummel und Honig

The publisher had awarded me, the author of Humle & Honning, with their own literature prize that year, Tidenprisen, for authorship and for Humle & Honning especially. This novel doesn’t resemble any other Norwegian novels, really. A quote from the Danish writer Jens August Schades novel „Sie treffen sich, sie lieben sich, und ihr Herz ist voll süßer Musik“ in the start of the book indicates a poetic playfulness, but also a little darkness underneath it all.

I use to call the book a children’s book for grown ups and a romantic novel. In the 80-ties and 90-ties I had translated a heap of romantic Harlekin-novels to Norwegian, and in Humle & Honning the story more or less follows the same standard pattern as in a romance, but the language and the characters are following their own ways completely.

HUMLOVERSETTELSETiden Norsk Forlag didn’t suceed in Frankfurt at that time. I think I saw the big poster later stowed away somewhere in my publisher’s offices, and I regret I didn’t ask them to give it to me so I could take it home with me. Actually the publishing house was going through turbulent times, and I don’t think they had the connections to sell a book like Humle & Honning to the right publisher in Germany or anywhere else…

A few years ago I was on the lookout for a publisher of e-books for my novel Die Ordnung der Worte, published as hardcover in German with Rockbuch/Edel in 2007 and translated by Christine v. Bülow. Another translator, Gabriele Haefs, pointed the Danish publisher Lindhardt & Ringhof in Copenhagen out to me, a publisher who recently had established an imprint for e-books and audio books by Scandinavian authors in German – Saga Egmont. Within short time Die Ordnung der Worte was on the market both as audio book (read by Sebastian Dunkelberg) and eBook.

When this was done I thought the time was due to let Humle & Honning finally be available in German, as eBook first. A test translation was made by Christine Von Bülow some years before and Saga Egmont agreed to let her translate the rest and publish it as eBook first, then probably as audio book later this year.

Saga Egmont is also planning a print-on-demand service for all their their eBook titles. But most of all I would like to get a proper hardcover edition published with a traditional publisher in Germany.

I knew from the start that this book has a great potential with readers abroad, and of course Germany had to be the first stop.

IMG_7513

Found in translation-interview with Igor Brito

According to the Brazilian Igor Brito his translation of Pål H. Christiansens novel Drømmer om storhet is being undertaken with great care and affection to all Portuguese language readers in the world. He is trying to approach a language that triggers doubt, curiosity, reflection and inspiration, an invitation to the reader to the universe of words and their various meanings and senses, which is the soul of the book. We had a chat with him just before Christmas about the progress of the work.

– Hi Igor. You have been so kind to work with the translation of Pål H. Christiansens novel Drømmer om storhet in your spare time for a while. Can you give us an update? How much work is left with the translation?

Well, I’ve had a tough time with my teaching responsibilities, other translations, appointments and personal matters that I had to reorganize my schedule. In the meantime, I could read the English and Italian translations of Drømmer om storhet, as well as the original book. It was a profitable and rewarding time because I needed to mature and perfect my skills as a translator, to provide Portuguese language readers a unique experience, honoring the stylistics, pragmatics and symbolism of the three works merged as one, without losing Pål’s essence, which is the seasoning of the Portuguese version for me. From now on I want to work at a good pace. It’s hard to set a deadline for the final result, but I’m working hard to have one chapter done every two or three weeks.

Igor og PWS

 -You have been learning quite a bit of Norwegian during the recent years. Do you find Norwegian difficult? What is really different from Portuguese?

Portuguese is a Romance language and Norwegian is Germanic. They are in different branches of the great tree of language, but they belong to the same root of this tree. Both Portuguese and Norwegian are Indo-European languages, and both suffered great influence of Latin and Greek. I don’t know exactly how each linguistic phenomenon occurred in the course of time, but they share many morphological and phonetic similarities, as seen in words like interessant, trist, gravid, ferie and dozens more, and have similar isochrony in their syllables. I’d not say difficult is the right word. I consider written Norwegian more tangible than spoken Norwegian. Learners need some time to master listening skills.

– What challenges have you met in the translation of the novel?

When a literary work is translated into another language, it is necessary to use many linguistic resources, since every language has its own way of expressing themselves. That’s when stylistics, pragmatics and symbolism come in because there are parameters or paradigms, and nuances that may or may not sound good to a certain word, phrase or even a whole thought compared to the other language.

  – Can you describe why this novel should be interesting for the Portuguese reading audience?

Drømmer om storhet has Waaktaar-Savoy as the core and foundation for the unfolding of the plot, highlighting his mastery with words and how he was the driving force and inspiration for the turning point in Hobo’s life. In particular, Brazilians have huge admiration for Waaktaar-Savoy’s work, and I believe that his image linked to a novel will bring attention to Portuguese language readers, not only in Brazil, but also other Portuguese speaking countries.

-Apart from the Waaktar-Savoy theme, what qualities in the novel would you point at for any reader of fiction as such?

Soth America 1982

Pål H.  Christiansen and Hobo seem to be the same persona when you go through the novel. He embodies Hobo’s saga in his writing with such passion and creativity that both seem to have the same dream. We can sum up the novel as the pursuit for dreams through the making of words as an art form as though they were paintings or pottery. Pål was so avant-garde with the stylistics and his own features in the book that it would make a very sophisticated prose-poetry work. Without any doubt, Drømmer om storhet is source of inspiration for anyone who can make life worth living and has the words as a mighty weapon to create or change anything for better.

 – It still remains to find a publisher for the work. What are the chances in Brazil you think?

Perhaps this question is the most difficult of all. A short-term speculation would be dishonest of my own. In this digital age, you need to analyze a number of pros and cons, and cost-benefit to release a physical book, especially in the case of Brazil, which has very little appeal and incentive to the purchase of books. For now, my intention is to publish chapter by chapter on social networks and spread the work, to see the public acceptance. Once the translation is completed and proofread, we’ll see what happens.

 

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