Recently Received: Don Juan by Peter Handke and Translation Is a Love Affair by Jacques Poulin

Peter-handke Peter Handke is an author I’ve long meant to read. His novel Don Juan: His Own Version is forthcoming from FSG in February and recently arrived at my doorstep. I also managed to snag a copy of his novel Across at the SF Public Library’s gigantic used book sale, which (the book) I’ve been told is one of his best.

As to Don Juan, the Complete Review has reviewed it:

Don Juan neatly plays with that inherent contradiction of fiction: its absolutism — a complete and exclusive world rendered in mere words — which neverthless can’t eliminate the possibility of countless similar, dissimilar, and even contradictory other-worlds. A novel can end with a period on the final page, yet finality (and literal truth) are illusory.

That’s about all the review coverage I can find in English, thus far.

Translation-Is-a-Love-Affair I also recently received a copy of the wonderfully titled book Translation is a Love Affair from Archipelago (published in October).

Here’s a bit from a short review at The Moose and the Gripes:

Here the primary character is a woman named Marine. She works as a translator, sometimes “tormented by the groundless fear that [she is] living the life of a parasite.” She has recently met and began translating the work of Monsieur Waterman, an older and very established French Canadian writer. He has given her a place to live while she works on his translations.

And another review by Steven G. Kellman:

While studying translation at the University of Geneva, Marine acquired a copy of a novel written by a fellow Canadian publishing under the nom de plume Jack Waterman (who also happens to be a character in Poulin’s best-known novel, Volkswagen Blues [1984]). Because it is about the Oregon Trail, which she had visited while hitchhiking alone across the US, Marine was especially drawn to the book and longed to translate it into English. When she returns to her native Quebec, Marine encounters Waterman in what Hollywood would call “meet cute.” Standing before the graves of her mother, sister, and grandmother, she encounters an older man reading Ernest Hemingway on a cemetery bench. It is of course Waterman, and Marine, convinced that “If there was a way to get close to someone in this life—of which I was not certain—it might be through translation,” elicits Waterman’s permission to translate his Oregon Trail novel into English. He even sets her up to work in an idyllic chalet on Île d’Orléans, while he labors over les mots justes in the tower he inhabits in nearby Quebec City.

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Wow, I never expected to see Jacque Poulin’s name on this blog. Awesome! Let me know if you’re interested in other French Canadian writers. I can help you separate the (reputed) wheat from the chaff…

Handke is superb. His finest novel is arguably his most famous: The Goalie’s Anxiety at the Penalty Kick. I recently re-read it and was struck by how tense, enigmatic and audacious it still is. His work has a powerful, offbeat atmosphere.

I’m a fan of Across. I also highly recommend Slow Homecoming, recently reissued by NYRB.

I happen to be the translator of GOALIE and so appreciate remi’s comment or is it tombs about this novel. however, since i know all his work i would have to say that the precedine novel DER HAUSIERER which is not in English, but in the romance languages is superior, GOALIE is just one moment from it; and also the subsequent novel SHORT LETTER LONG FAREWELL which was just reissued by NYRB with a first rate intro by Greil Macus. DON JUAN is an absolutely delightful formalist dance by someone who is not a Don Juan himself, rather the opposite. Here are links to a lot of material about Handke on the web:Here are links to a lot of Handke material on the web:
among them
and 13 sub-sites
[moravian nights discussion]
the newest:
contains the psychoanalytic monograph
The Morawian Night Essay + Handke trivia [the drama lecture]
[dem handke auf die schliche/besuch auf dem moenchsberg, a book of mine about Handke]
[the American Scholar caused controversy about Handke, reviews, detailed of Coury/ Pilipp’s THE WORKS OF PETER HANDKE, the psycho-biological monograph/ a note on Velica Hoca/ ]
with three photo albums, to wit:
[some handke material, too, the Milosevic controversy summarized]
Member Seattle Psychoanalytic Institute and Society
this LYNX will LEAP you to all my HANDKE project sites and BLOGS:
“Sryde Lyde Myde Vorworde Vorhorde Vorborde” [von Alvensleben]

i have posted some reviews and an excerpt at the DON JUAN PAGE of
that is the second of the two prose sites.
also a very positive review from the TLS
Member Seattle Psychoanalytic Institute and Society
This LYNX will LEAP you to my HANDKE project sites and BLOGS:
“Sryde Lyde Myde Vorworde Vorhorde Vorborde” [von Alvensleben]

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