Excerpt: Stephen Fry's The Fry Chronicles

"That Stephen Fry needs no introduction is what he has always wanted." 

So begins a recent Guardian Books coverage of Fry's latest installement in what is shaping up to be a multi-tome autobiography.

And yet, judging by Fry's relentless efforts to try and have himself explained to his audience (while simultaneously avoiding any classification and throwing sand in everybody's eyes, as it were) it seems as if the 54 year old actor, writer, journalist, comedian, television presenter, film director and director of Norwich City Football Club (is there anything Fry hasn't put his hand into? Oops! double meaning..) is doing everything he can in order to make that introduction a necessary factor of every (chance or not) encounter!

Indeed, there's not much Fry hasn't done over the past 30 years or so.. The man isn't considered a `National Treasure' in vain, after all.. 

Though he's been diagnosed with bipolar disorder (Fry suffered a nervous breakdown in 1995 while appearing in a West End play..) Fry has managed to publish 10 books thus far (amongst which one can find four novels, several non-fiction works and two volumes of autobiography.) He's also narrated countless audiobooks (amongst which, J.K.Rowling's Harry Potter series of audio books, Douglas Adams's The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy audiobook, and, of course, his own novels' audiobooks..) His voice has been featured in a number of video games.

All this without mentioning his rich acting career: Theatre, Radio, Film - these are no strangers to Stephen Fry..

So much for the (elusive) intro. Let's cut to the chase..

Thirteen years after he's published Moab is My Washpot, the first chapter in his Memoirs, Stephen Fry returns with a sequel, The Fry Chronicles.

In Moab is My Washpot (Excerpt Reader devotees can catch up with an excerpt from the book here) Fry covers the first 20 years of his life, from cradle to college, so to speak.. 

Moab is a classic Black-Sheep story.. A dishonorable schoolboy who can't help but steal, cheat and lye, Fry is a terribly insecure yet highly intelligent little brat who finds himself entangled in one 'plot' after the other: One moment we find him manifesting his hatred for P.E. lessons (non-Brits won't understand..), coming to terms with his sexuality, struggling to understand maths, etc.. & the next we see him coping with prison, having stolen some credit cards from some very nice people and forged their signatures..

But don't worry (here comes a spoiler..) Everything is alright by book's end: the young Fry does everything he possibly can to catch up with his studies and makes it into Cambridge, where he will go on to meet fellow actors Hugh LaurieEmma Thompson and Tony Slattery

So now he's got the sequel out.. 

What's it about? 

Embracing a trio of publishing platforms, combining the traditional with the modern (the book was simultaneously published as an iPhone App, iPad eBook and AudioBook, as well as the ever-so-traditional book form, paper and all - Mr Fry is well known for his passion for gadgetry,) The Fry Chronicles tells us what Fry got up to after leaving gaol. 

After Cambridge, Fry goes into lengthy, amusing little stories of the TV shows he's made, the many articles he's written, and of course, how he'd trousered his first million by adapting a musical, ‘Me and My Girl’. The book ends in August 1987, his 30th birthday, at his agreeable six bedroom house in Norfolk, leaving ample room for a third, and perhaps even fourth tome of the Grand-Autobiography.. 

Judging by his Twitter testimonials, Fry hasn't been working on the 448 pages which comprise The Fry Chronicles for too long (Fry's testified last April in his twitter account to his 1,888,895 followers that he'll be taking some time off to write the second tome of his memoir. He was back a couple of months later..)

Still, there's no denying a polymath, prolific writer like Mr. Fry has the writing potency of 10 able writers, which makes the reading of The Fry Chronicles, well, any of his books for this matter, a considerable enjoyment on any reader's part.

Not convinced yet??

Why don't you let Mr. Fry himself convince you:


Excerpt: Thomas Pynchon's Inherent Vice

A lot has been written on what draws us to books.. Their jacket cover, the buzz around town, the sexy or intellectual photo of the author on the back of the cover, whatever turns you on..

But what about what draws us away from books? Now, I don't mean that we're repelled or God forbid disgusted by these books. But we're reluctant to pick them up, for fear we'd disappoint them, or they disappoint us.

We've all got at least one or more books or authors we shy away from..

We're secretly drawn to them. Their names or their books' titles linger many a times on our tongues or journey amidst our brains. 

I'm talking about Tolstoi's War and Peace; James Joyce's Ulysses or Finnegans Wake; Don Delilo's Underworld (well, almost anything by Don Delilo) David Foster Wallace's Infinite Jest; Thomas Pynchon's Gravity's Rainbow (well almost anything by Thomas Pynchon..)

And this is just my 'list of 'awed' writers.. 

Pynchon's led the list for a good decade or so.

For some reason, I was always reluctant, or better yet, wary of and hesitant to pick any of his recalcitrant books up and give them the old once over..

I'd even bought a Penguin-Classics used copy of Gravity's Rainbow some 2-3 years ago.. And I've had the hebrew edition of The Crying of Lot 49 sitting on my bookshelf for God knows how long, but I never really picked any of the up and dusted their jackets.. 

Now, when Pynchon published Inherent Vice, a Sixties Rock N' Roll meets Private Dic'-Film Noir flic Novel - well, what sounds like a more accessible, easier read - I knew I had to pick a copy of the Novel at my local Steimatzky (what with 25% off all EnglishFiction and 2 brand new paperback novels for 100 NIS, I couldn't resist the temptation anyway, so..) 

Right away, I knew I liked the cover, which is always a good start (I don't know about you, but 'good' covers lure me into reading!) 

What did I like about it? 

Well, the HUGE Station-wagon for starters.. (is it a Cadillac?? Don't know why but it reminds me of Back to the Future). 

Then the fact that's it's under 400 pages, which basically promises it to be one of his 'lightest' reads.. Is Pynchon becoming soft in his hay days? (he is 77 after all..) 

Finally, of course my Pynchon-Awe ;) Though you have to admire a (young) writer who starts out his (writing) career writing for Boeing and goes on to (write and) publish sprawling, geopolitical, postmodern farces in 1960's-70's USA: V (563 pages. Published in 1963), Gravity's Rainbow (784 pages. Published in 1973. Won the National Book Award) & it goes on (and on) in the 1980's-90's: Mason & Dixon (784 pages) and Against the Day (1,104 pages!).

I then knew I had to look up 'Inherent Vice' on the internet (you know, that old' dusted library on your Mac'..) and, much to my surprise, this is what I found: 

inherent vice: n. ~ The tendency of material to deteriorate due to the essential instability of the components or interaction among components.

* special thanks to http://www.inherentvice.net/

What's it about, you ask?

Well, it's a classic murder/suspense, private dic'/noir kind of novel, or as the jacket cover says: 

"It's been awhile since Doc Sportello has seen his ex-girlfriend. Suddenly out of nowhere she shows up with a story about a plot to kidnap a billionaire land developer whom she just happens to be in love with. Easy for her to say. It's the tail end of the psychedelic sixties in L.A., and Doc knows that "love" is another of those words going around at the moment, like "trip" or "groovy," except that this one usually leads to trouble. Despite which he soon finds himself drawn into a bizarre tangle of motives and passions whose cast of characters includes surfers, hustlers, dopers and rockers, a murderous loan shark, a tenor sax player working undercover, an ex-con with a swastika tattoo and a fondness for Ethel Merman, and a mysterious entity known as the Golden Fang, which may only be a tax dodge set up by some dentists."

A typical boy (re)meets girl; girl asks boy to murder her (other) boy; boy grapples with his conscience story..

Well, kinda.. Read a short excerpt here.

As you can see, the narrative is very private-dic' film-noir'esque. The narrator and main protagonist, Doc the dic', seems to be taken right out of all that long American 20th century Hardboiled, Crime Fiction genre: kind of Raymond Chandler meets Columbo..

Here's a little passage, a few pages on, where the narrator's 'stream of thought' runs wild: 

"Shasta named a sum. Doc had outrun souped-up Rollses full of indignant smack dealers on the Pasadena Freeway, doing a hundred in the fog and trying to steer through all those crudely engineered curves, he'd walked up back alleys east of the L.A. River with nothing but a borrowed 'fro pick in his baggies for protection, been in and out of the Hall of Justice while holding a small fortune in Vietnamese weed, and these days had nearly convinced himself all that reckless era was over with, but now he was beginning to feel deeply nervous again. "This…" carefully now, "this isn't just a couple of X–rated Polaroids, then. Dope planted in the glove compartment, nothin like 'at…"

And if all this didn't turn you ON enough, here's a little promo Video for the book, narrated by your very own Thomas Pynchon:

VERDICT: BUY IT (cos' Pynchon might never be this 'easy' to read again..)


Excerpt: Tom McCarthy's C

Here's a book you won't be seeing on the Oprah Book Club list anytime soon..

& not because it's written bya Brit', mind you.. Oprah's recommended Ian McEwan's Solar just this April, and I bet it wasn't the only Brit' Novel on her favorite books list..  

No, Tom McCarthy's C won't appear on Oprah's book club anytime soon because it's a challanging, postmodern'ish read!

It did however make as one of the six finalists on the 42nd Man Booker Prize shortlist - the leading literary award in the English speaking world. Which is saying much! 

Indeed, the Brits are currenlty placing the highest betting odds with C, favouring it above all other books - and now that David Mitchell's The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet and Christos Tsiolkas's The Slap are out (the first was reviewed by the Excerpt Reader last July; the latter will be reviewed in this blog very soon..) it may very well be the most favorite contender - yet I'm not sure how many people have heard of it so far (outside Great Britain that is..)

A well acclaimed novelist, literary critic (in Tintin and the Secret of Literature he reads Herge's Tintin through the prism of structuralist and post-structuralist literary theory) and conceptual artist, as well as "the most galling interviewee in Britain" - C is McCarthy's third novel, after Remainder - a literary Memento of sorts, about the loss and recapture of identity - and Men in Space, a dystopian tale of social ruin. It may very well be his easiest read thus far; though, to be sure, it could just as easily be classified by most literary critics as an avantgarde, postmodern novel..

Despite the intriguing cover (and the American cover, just on your left, is no less beguiling than the British one, placed below;) and albeit its odd, single-letter title, C is, in essence, quite an 'esoteric' novel. 

Above all, for the way it treats its subjectswar, sickness and death and, of course, communication (that's what the C, amongst other things, stands for: good, old fashioned communication between individuals, but also  futuristic, cutting edge technological communication: wireless communication, the kind that will bring on, many decades later, the modem and then the World wide web..)

Set in early twentieth century pre-war Europe, C follows the short, intense life of one Serge Carrefax, who finds himself from an early age steeped in a weird world of technological developments (Serge's father is an aspiring scientist leading experiments with electrical fields). When loss strikes him when his beloved sister dies, Serge embarks on an epic journey encompassing the prison camps of Germany, the drug-fuelled London of the roaring twenties and, finally, the ancient tombs of Egypt in what quickly shapes up to be a stunning tour de force of écriture.

Once, he picked up a CQD: a distress signal. It came from the Atlantic, two hundred or so miles off Greenland. ThePachitea, merchant vessel of the Peruvian Steamship Company, had hit an object—maybe whale, maybe iceberg—and was breaking up. The nearest vessel was another South American, Acania, but it was fifty miles away. Galway had picked the call up; so had Le Havre, Malin, Poldhu and just about every ship between Southampton and New York. Fifteen minutes after Serge had locked onto the signal half the radio bugs in Europe had tuned into it as well. The Admiralty put a message out instructing amateurs to stop blocking the air. Serge ignored the order, but lost the signal beneath general interference: the atmospherics were atrocious that night. He listened to the whine and crackle, though, right through till morning—and heard, or thought he heard, among its breaks and flecks, the sound of people treading cold, black water, their hands beating small disturbances into waves that had come to bury them.
* You can read the rest of the excerpt here.

Yes, it all sounds very adventure-novel'esque, but the writing itself, (McCarthy's elegant prose is often dense with emotion, information and constant interruption - very stream of thought..) is quite challenging. Luckily, like any challenging read, C is also a highly rewarding read. 
VERDICT: BUY IT (If only to walk about town with the alluring hard-cover, single-letter cover under your arm)


Special Excerpt: 3 Young Translators & their Works

Most people read. Some people write. Very few people translate.

Voilà a truism I'd like you to keep in mind when reading the following post, a special Excerpt Reader feature about translators and translations.


On 'normal' days, the Excerpt Reader consecrates its posts towards the reading and reviewing of works & oeuvres of well known (and lesser known) writers.

However, having made his share of attempts at translation (the Reader has delved into translations from the English and French languages alike, trying - in vain - to render their 'inner-speech' into Hebrew many-a-times..) it has long since given up and would therefore like now to 'give it up' to 3 'young' translators making their way in the world, helping us read and discover other cultures in this babylonian world..


They didn't come up the saying traduttore, traditore by mistake..

Translation is a work of alchemy, a task whose mere impossibility is inherent in its very-own core.

The following three translators battle heroically with translations on a daily basis.

They are:

* 35 year old Dens Dimiņš, a Latvian translator. Dens has  published numerous translations from the French, Islandic, English, and what not :)

* 33 year old Pierre Troullier, a French play-writer, poet and translator. His translations from the English vary from poet John Skelton (1460-1529), to D.H. Lawrence, and most recently James Joyce, He is published by the French publishing house, Les Belles Lettres.

* 35 year old
Lee Evron-vaknin, an Israeli poet, children's 

fiction writer and translator. Her translations from the French 
(Emmanuel Tod, After the Empire: The Breakdown of the American Order) and from the English (Crash by J. G. Ballard) have been published by renowned Israeli publishing houses.

The Reader has interviewed them to in order to offer you a glimpse into their arduous tasks.

A few words about yourself..  

Dens: I am translator and interpreter from Riga, Latvia. I studied Classics, French and Icelandic. I like working with languages and transferring messages betwen them. It makes me feel like a messenger and messengers usually don’t get killed. I also like editing, at times it can be really creative.. I don’t like applied texts, contracts and all the soulless legal crap because mostly it is not based on any real emotion or intention to communicate. The mind behind it is often calculating and unimaginative. The result is, metaphorically and literally, dead letter...  

Pierre: I’m 32, I teach literature at the French Naval Academy, within the department of human sciences, and at the same time, I write and translate poetry. My main work of translation so far was published in 2008 by Les Belles Lettres. It’s a satirical trilogy entitled Speak, Parrot, by John Skelton, a very witty and bitter Tudor poet who was Henry VIII’s tutor. The challenge was to follow the poems line by line, rhyme after rhyme, so that the translation would be as poetic as the original.  Lee: I have been reading and writing ever since I could, and having spent a few years in England as a child I read in English as much as hebrew. In my teens I fell in love with the songs of Jacques Brel and started learning french and translating from it.

Why do you translate?  

Dens: Translating has its music for me. It's like painting. Editing is softer, subtler, is like drawing (unless you have to bulldoze). I translate because I want to bridge the gap between various nations. Between my own and that of my choice. In a way it’s like rebellion against God’s plan. I mostly translate books I like and I always think of some people I’d like to share this liking with. I am now all in the exciting process of discovering Dutch literature. I find authors like Stefan Hertmans, Jan Wolkers or Ferdinand Boderwijk sadly neglected and absolutely translatable!  

Pierre: I don’t see translation as a substitution, but more as a duplication. Where there was one work, there are two of them afterwards. For example, I love the fact that I can read both Poe and Poe translated by Baudelaire. Baudelaire explains very well that Poe had written the books that he had himself dreamt of, before he knew Poe. So Baudelaire didn’t translate Poe in my opinion, he duplicated Poe’s works as if they had been his own.

Lee: I think first and foremost it's the desire to share something I love (for example, a french poem) with people who don't have access to it. Also it's one of the most creative activities that can still be regarded as work.

Is translation possible, in your view?  

Dens: Albeit approximative by its very nature, it is certainly possible and quite a few people are earning their daily bread with it. There are some things that are deliberately meaningless or funny and can be hard or even impossible to transfer. However, by some stretch of the imagination you can always create and compensate.  

Pierre: More than possible, I really think it’s vital. For a translator, it’s vital to work as a true author, not just as an epigone, but as an alter ego. Baudelaire thought of himself as Poe’s brother. For an author, it’s vital, through translation, to confront and to match his elders or his contemporaries. Chateaubriand translated Milton during his exile in England; Larbaud translated Joyce so that Ulysses might be read and known.

Lee: If you are willing to compromise, and realize the translated work will not be identical to the original, yes.

What is your ideal book/writer?  

Dens: I don’t know, frankly, I have many. I like writers whose language conveys more than the sum of the mere meaning of the words. I like Proust, Céline, Yourcenar, Bernhard, Döblin, Littell, Thor Vilhjálmsson, Guðbergur Bergsson, Ishiguro, Dostoyevsky, Bulgakov, Nabokov, Mandelshtam, Brodsky...  

Pierre: Le Soulier de satin by Paul Claudel, or Underworld by Don DeLillo, or Mrs Dalloway are close to it, because the whole world is in these books, which are total artworks. My ideal writer looks like these books. I love writers with many abilities. Montaigne and Milton, Byron and Chateaubriand, Claudel and Woolf, they all have something in common : they were non only huge writers, but also diplomats, warriors, concerned with politics and history. They were accomplished.

Lee: Yehuda Amichai's poems have been widely translated and I understand why. He managed to be wise and deep and use interesting metaphores and still be very communicative in a way that transcends language and culture barriers.

How do you bridge between cultures?  

Dens: When confronted with a cultural gap, for instance, bad swearing which doesn’t fit with the target language patterns, you just close your eyes and think, 'err, what would a really angry Latvian say when in a mess of the kind?' This helped me a lot with Houellebecq. But generally – trite as this might sound – every instance of translation is like a section in a long bridge... 

Pierre: Maybe the answer is in the question. Because translation could be that bridge precisely. I think that a culture is contained in its language and shaped by it. The first task of the translator is to embrace the language he translates ; it’s the door to its culture. If through his own language, he manages to import the subtlety of the foreign language, he will import its culture as well. The translator is therefore a courier.

Lee: The keyword is compromise. Dan Almagor translated Jacques Brel's Vesoul using hebrew town names and referring to the Israeli custom of public singing. That was a little bit too much. But on the other hand I don't want to feel like I'm reading a transcript - the translator should take some liberties at adapting the work to his or her own culture.

Well, you've read their inter(views). Now see their work:

First up, an excerpt from a still unpublished Dens is working on from Jonatha Littel's Les Bienveillantes (better known as The Kindly Ones to English readers.) The Original text is in French, and the translation, in Latvian:

Pour les morts

Frères humains, laissez-moi vous raconter comment ça s'est passé. On n'est pas votre frère, rétorquerez-vous, et on ne veut pas le savoir. Et c'est bien vrai qu'il s'agit d'une sombre histoire, mais édifiante aussi, un véritable conte moral, je vous l'assure. Ça risque d'être un peu long, après tout il s'est passé beaucoup de choses, mais si ça se trouve vous n'êtes pas trop pressés, avec un peu de chance vous avez le temps. Et puis ça vous concerne : vous verrez bien que ça vous concerne. Ne pensez pas que je cherche à vous convaincre de quoi que ce soit ; après tout, vos opinions vous regardent. Si je me suis résolu à écrire, après toutes ces années, c'est pour mettre les choses au point pour moi-même, pas pour vous. Longtemps, on rampe sur cette terre comme une chenille, dans l'attente du papillon splendide et diaphane que l'on porte en soi. Et puis le temps passe, la nymphose ne vient pas, on reste larve, constat affligeant, qu'en faire ? Le suicide, bien entendu, reste une option. Mais à vrai dire, le suicide me tente peu. J'y ai, cela va de soi, longuement songé ; et si je devais y avoir recours, voici comment je m'y prendrais : je placerais une grenade tout contre mon cœur et partirais dans un vif éclat de joie. Une petite grenade ronde que je dégoupillerais avec délicatesse avant de lâcher la cuiller, en souriant au petit bruit métallique du ressort, le dernier que j'entendrais, à part les battements de mon cœur dans mes oreilles. Et puis le bonheur enfin, ou en tout cas la paix, et les murs de mon bureau décorés de lambeaux. Aux femmes de ménage de nettoyer, elles sont payées pour ça, tant pis pour elles. Mais comme je l'ai dit le suicide ne me tente pas. Je ne sais pas pourquoi, d'ailleurs, un vieux fond de morale philosophique peut-être, qui me fait dire qu'après tout on n'est pas là pour s'amuser. Pour faire quoi, alors ? Je n'en ai pas idée, pour durer, sans doute, pour tuer le temps avant qu'il ne vous tue. Et dans ce cas, comme occupation, aux heures perdues, écrire en vaut bien une autre. Non que j'aie tant d'heures que ça à perdre, je suis un homme occupé; j'ai ce qu'on appelle une famille, un travail, des responsabilités donc, tout cela prend du temps, ça n'en laisse pas beaucoup pour raconter ses souvenirs. D'autant que des souvenirs, j'en ai, et une quantité considérable même. Je suis une véritable usine à souvenirs. J'aurai passé ma vie à me manufacturer des souvenirs, même si l'on me paye plutôt, maintenant, pour manufacturer de la dentelle. En fait, j'aurais tout aussi bien pu ne pas écrire. Après tout, ce n'est pas une obligation. Depuis la guerre, je suis resté un homme discret ; grâce à Dieu, je n'ai jamais eu besoin, comme certains de mes anciens collègues, d'écrire mes Mémoires à fin de justification, car je n'ai rien à justifier, ni dans un but lucratif, car je gagne assez bien ma vie comme ça. Une fois, j'étais en Allemagne, en voyage d'affaires, je discutais avec le directeur d'une grande maison de sous-vêtements, à qui je voulais vendre de la dentelle. Je lui avais été recommandé par d'anciens amis; ainsi, sans poser de questions, nous savions tous les deux à quoi nous en tenir, l'un envers l'autre. Après notre entretien, qui s'était d'ailleurs déroulé de manière fort positive, il se leva pour tirer un volume de sa bibliothèque et me l'offrit. Il s'agissait des mémoires posthumes de Hans Frank, le General-Gouverneur de Pologne; cela s'intitulait Face à l'échafaud. « J'ai reçu une lettre de sa veuve, m'expliqua mon interlocuteur. Elle a fait éditer le manuscrit, qu'il a rédigé après son procès, à ses propres frais, et elle vend le livre pour subvenir aux besoins de ses enfants. Vous vous imaginez, en arriver là ? La veuve du General-Gouverneur. Je lui en ai commandé vingt exemplaires, pour les offrir. J'ai aussi proposé à tous mes chefs de départements d'en acheter un. Elle m'a écrit une émouvante lettre de remerciements. Vous l'avez connu ? » Je lui assurai que non, mais que je lirais le livre avec intérêt. En fait si, je l'avais brièvement croisé, je vous le raconterai peut-être plus tard, si j'en ai le courage ou la patience. Mais là, ça n'aurait eu aucun sens d'en parler. Le livre, d'ailleurs, était fort mauvais, confus, geignard, baigné d'une curieuse hypocrisie religieuse. Ces notes-ci seront peut-être confuses et mauvaises aussi, mais je ferai de mon mieux pour rester clair ; je peux vous assurer qu'au moins elles demeureront libres de toute contrition. Je ne regrette rien : j'ai fait mon travail, voilà tout; quant à mes histoires de famille, que je raconterai peut-être aussi, elles ne concernent que moi; et pour le reste, vers la fin, j'ai sans doute forcé la limite, mais là je n'étais plus tout à fait moi-même, je vacillais et d'ailleurs autour de moi le monde entier basculait, je ne fus pas le seul à perdre la tête, reconnaissez-le. Et puis, je n'écris pas pour nourrir ma veuve et mes enfants, moi, je suis tout à fait capable de subvenir à leurs besoins. Non, si j'ai enfin décidé d'écrire, c'est bien sans doute pour passer le temps, et aussi, c'est possible, pour éclaircir un ou deux points obscurs, pour vous peut-être et pour moi-même. En outre je pense que cela me fera du bien. C'est vrai que mon humeur est plutôt terne. La constipation, sans doute. Problème navrant et douloureux, d'ailleurs nouveau pour moi; autrefois, c'était bien le contraire. Longtemps, j'ai dû passer aux cabinets trois, quatre fois par jour ; maintenant, une fois par semaine serait un bonheur. J'en suis réduit à des lavements, procédure désagréable au possible, mais efficace. Pardonnez-moi de vous entretenir de détails aussi scabreux : j'ai bien le droit de me plaindre un peu. Et puis si vous ne supportez pas ça vous feriez mieux de vous arrêter ici. Je ne suis pas Hans Frank, moi, je n'aime pas les façons. Je veux être précis, dans la mesure de mes moyens. Malgré mes travers, et ils ont été nombreux, je suis resté de ceux qui pensent que les seules choses indispensables à la vie humaine sont l'air, le manger, le boire et l'excrétion, et la recherche de la vérité. Le reste est facultatif.

& in Latvian:



Brāļi līdzcilvēki, ļaujiet jel pastāstīt, kā tas notika. Kas mēs tev par brāļiem, jūs attrauksiet, mēs nemaz negribam to zināt. Jā nudien, tas ir drūms stāsts, bet arī pamācošs, viena kārtīga fabula, ticiet man. Tas var ieilgt, galu galā daudz kas ir noticis, bet ja tā gadās, gan jau jums nekas nedeg, varbūt jums pat ir tik daudz laika. Turklāt šis stāsts attiecas uz jums – jūs redzēsiet, es nemeloju. Nedomājiet, ka mēģinu jums to par visām varēm iesmērēt, kaut ko jums iestāstīt – galu galā, jūs viedokļi ir jūsu problēma. Ja pēc visiem šiem gadiem esmu izlēmis rakstīt, tad tāpēc, lai saliktu visu pa plauktiņiem, es daru to priekš sevis, ne jums. Mēs ilgi rāpojam pa šo zemi kā kāpuri un ceram kādudien izšķilties apburoša, caurspīdīga tauriņa veidolā, ko nesam sevī. Bet laiks rit, kūņošanās nesākas, mēs aizvien vēl esam kāpuri – bēdīgs secinājums, bet ko lai dara? Vienmēr, protams, atliek pašnāvība, bet, patiesību sakot, tā mani īpaši nevilina. Skaidrs, ka esmu par to ilgi domājis; ja man būtu jādodas nāvē, tad es rīkotos šādi: es pieliktu tieši pie sirds granātu un laimīgi uzsprāgtu. Apaļu granātiņu, iedomājieties, es atbrīvotu drošinātāju un maigi pavilktu gredzenu, es smaidītu, noklikšķot atsperei, tas būtu pēdējais troksnis, ko es dzirdētu līdz ar sirdspukstiem deniņos. Pēc tam laime vai vismaz miers, un miesas lēveriem rotātas biroja sienas. Apkopējām nāktos tīrīt, bet par to jau viņām naudu maksā, man ļoti žēl. Bet, kā jau teicu, pašnāvība mani diez ko nevilina. Starp citu, nezinu, kāpēc, varbūt kādas morāles filozofijas atliekas manī teic, ka galu galā dzīve nav nekāda spēlīte. Bet kas tā ir? Nav ne jausmas, vienkārši jādzīvo, nositot laiku, pirms tas nosit jūs. Katrā ziņā brīvajā laikā rakstīt nav tā sliktākā nodarbošanās, turklāt man nemaz nav tik daudz brīvā laika, esmu aizņemts vīrs; man ir t.s. ģimene, darbs, atbildība, tātad tas viss prasa laiku, un atmiņu cilāšanai daudz nesanāk. Jo vairāk tāpēc, ka atmiņu man ir čupu čupām. Esmu īsts atmiņu ģenerators, es varētu pavadīt turpat visu mūžu, krāmējoties ar tām, lai gan īstenībā es pelnu iztiku ar mežģīnēm. Nudien, tikpat labi es būtu varējis arī neko nerakstīt, galu galā, tas nav nekāds pienākums. Pēc kara es dzīvoju neuzkrītoši; paldies Dievam, atšķirībā no dažiem bijušajiem kolēģiem man nenācās rakstīt memuārus un taisnoties, jo man nav par ko taisnoties, arī peļņas nolūkos ne, jo es tāpat tīri pieklājīgi nopelnu. Reiz darījumu braucienā uz Vāciju es runāju ar lielas apakšveļas rūpnīcas direktoru, kam es gribēju pārdot mežģīnes; mani bija ieteikuši veci draugi; tāpēc bez liekiem jautājumiem mēs zinājām, kā vienam pret otru izturēties. Pēc sarunas, kas turklāt noritēja visnotaļ pozitīvā gaisotnē, viņš piecēlās un, izvilcis no grāmatplaukta kādu sējumu, pasniedza to man. Tie bija Polijas ģenerālgubernatora Hansa Franka pēcnāves memuāri „Uz ešafota“. „Saņēmu vēstuli no viņa atraitnes,“ rūpnieks skaidroja. „Viņa par savu naudu lika izrediģēt manuskriptu, ko viņš uzrakstīja pēc tiesas procesa, un pārdod šo grāmatu, lai varētu uzturēt bērnus. Iedomājieties, cik zemu nolaidusies! Ģenerālgubernatora atraitne! Pasūtīju divdesmit eksemplārus dāvināšanai. Ieteicu iegādāties pa eksemplāram arī visiem nodaļu vadītājiem. Viņa uzrakstīja man aizkustinošu pateicības vēstuli. Vai bijāt pazīstams ar Franku?“ Teicu, ka nebiju vis, bet ar interesi izlasīšu grāmatu. Īstenībā biju gan, mūsu ceļi īslaicīgi krustojās, varbūt vēlāk pastāstīšu, ja man pietiks drosmes vai pacietības. Tobrīd nebija nekādas jēgas to pieminēt. Grāmata turklāt bija izcili slikta, haotiska, gaudena, dīvainas reliģiskas liekulības pārpilna. Arī manas piezīmes varbūt sanāks haotiskas un sliktas, tomēr es pielikšu visas pūles, lai rakstītu skaidri; varu likt roku uz sirds, ka tajās no nožēlas nebūs ne vēsts. Es neko nenožēloju – es darīju savu darbu, un viss; arī ģimenes lietas es varbūt izstāstīšu, tās attiecas tikai uz mani; runājot par pārējo, uz beigām, protams, es pārkāpju dažas robežas, bet tobrīd es vairs nebiju es pats, es biju iedragāts un visa pasaule bija sašķobījusies, neba es viens biju zaudējis saprašanu, tur nu jums jāpiekrīt. Turklāt es nerakstu, lai uzturētu savu atraitni un bērnus – esmu pilnīgi spējīgs viņus apgādāt. Nē, ja esmu izlēmis rakstīt, tad katrā ziņā ar nodomu pavadīt laiku, kā arī, iespējams, šo to noskaidrot gan priekš jums, gan pašam sev. Bez tam domāju, ka tas nāks man par labu. Jāatzīst, ka man ir diezgan nomākts garastāvoklis. Pie vainas ir vēdera aizcietējums, bez šaubām. Satraucoša, sāpīga liksta, kas mani piemeklējusi nesen; senāk man bija gluži pretēja rakstura veselības problēmas. Ilgu laiku man nācās apmeklēt tualeti reizes trīs, četras dienā. Tagad esmu nolaidies līdz klizmai, tā ir maksimāli nepatīkama procedūra, tomēr palīdz. Piedodiet, ka dalos ar jums šādos nepatīkamos sīkumos – man taču ir tiesības mazliet pavaimanāt, vai ne? Turklāt ja jūs nespējat sagremot kaut ko tādu, tad varat tālāk nemaz nelasīt. Es neesmu Hanss Franks, man nepatīk ārišķības. Gribu būt precīzs, cik vien to spēju. Par spīti saviem trūkumiem, kuru nav mazums, neesmu zaudējis pārliecību, ka cilvēkam reāli vajag tikai elpot, ēst, dzert un čurāt un kakāt. Viss pārējais nav obligāti.


The second excerpt is called Sylvia’s Ghost, and it's a bilingual poem by Pierre Troullier (not sure which is the original and which is the translation.. there's room for a whole new post for you.. ;)

The Ghost is here to stay
No matter how you’re sane
It can’t be chased away
And will bring you more pain
The Ghost is here to stay
The Ghost is here to hurt
I hope you’ve cried before
Tears often turn to dirt
You’ll suffer to the core
The Ghost is here to hurt
The Ghost is here to kill
If you hope for the best
You will run down the hill
No matter how you’re blessed
The Ghost is here to kill
Beware this Ghost descending like a dove
Whose lethal dart’s pointed at you it’s Love

& in French:

Son Spectre restera
Ta raison ne peut rien
Ni ne le chassera
Et comme ton chagrin
Son Spectre restera
Son Spectre vient en armes
De tes pleurs retiens l’onde
Poussière que les larmes
Ta plaie sera profonde
Son Spectre vient en armes
Son Spectre tire à vue
Qu’espères-tu de mieux
Que dévaler la rue
Même béni des cieux
Son Spectre tire à vue
Ce Spectre qui descend prends-y garde en plein jour
Et dont le dard mortel te vise est ton Amour


The third and final excerpt is Lee's translation of Tim Hardin's poem, If I were a Carpenter (first is the original, English, version; second, the Hebrew translation):

"If I Were A Carpenter"

If I were a carpenter
And you were a lady,
Would you marry me anyway?
Would you have my baby?

If a tinker were my trade
would you still find me,
Carrying the pots I made,
Following behind me.

Save my love through loneliness,
Save my love for sorrow,
I'm given you my onliness,
Come give your tomorrow.

If I worked my hands in wood,
Would you still love me?
Answer me babe, "Yes I would,
I'll put you above me."

If I were a miller
at a mill wheel grinding,
would you miss your color box,
and your soft shoe shining?

If I were a carpenter
and you were a lady,
Would you marry me anyway?
Would you have my baby?
Would you marry anyway?
Would you have my baby?
& in Hebrew:

לוּ נגר הייתי
לוּ נגר הייתי, ואת
גבירה נכבדת
האם גם אז היית שלי
ואותי אוהבת
לו כדים כיירתי, האם
עוד היית הולכת
אחריי ולצדי
ואת בני יולדת

את אהבתי שמרי
לבדידות וצער
נתתי לך את לבדי
תני לי את מחר

לו טוחן הייתי, אותי
היית מלטפת?
"כן אהוב," אמרי נא לי,
בחיבוק עוטפת.
לוּ בסיד ומלט ידיי
כל היום טבלתי
העוד היית בזרועותיי
בלילה, עת חלמתי

את אהבתי שמרי
לבדידות וצער
נתתי לך את לבדי
תני לי את מחר