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September 15, 2010


I went to see Per Petterson read tonight in Boston. After he read, someone asked him how he felt about reading his work aloud. He answered that it was strange to read in English when he had written it in Norwegian and that when he reads in English, he hears it the way he actually wrote it. I didn't know this, but he was involved the English translation. He said he didn't know enough to do the actual translation but that he knew what it wouldn't be in English.

After hearing him read tonight, I agree with the sips-over-gulp pacing. He read the way he writes: slowly and with enough pauses to allow you to digest and appreciate what you've just experienced. I'm a little Petterson-drunk tonight so excuse the gushing:)

Oh, I wish I'd been there! And that's such an interesting turn in the translation conversation: the personal presentation of words that are in a different language than you wrote in, as if the words were your own (and they ARE, but, well, you know, different.) Especially because this is the first of Petterson's English-language books that he assisted with in the translation, I'd be really curious what he thinks of the results in I Curse the River of Time, compared to the three novels that Anne Born translated.

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