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2006:2 Issue

Swedish Book Review 2006:2 issueEditorial by Sarah Death

A widely contrasting set of contributions characterizes this issue of SBR. We open with an excerpt from Xiao Rundcrantz’s Red Prosecutor, the powerful, shocking, true story of her work as a prosecutor in Communist China, before she escaped to Sweden in 1998. A more light-hearted form of non-fiction is provided by Fredrik Sjöberg as he sets off on an unusual career path in The Fly Trap. A few scenes from Finland-Swede Petter Lindberg’s intriguing science fiction novel leave us with a real cliffhanger. Poetic tastes are catered for, too: we present more results of the fruitful collaboration between prizewinning poet Göran Sonnevi and his translator Rika Lesser over many years; and a poem in two language versions by the late Göran Printz-Påhlson accompanies the appreciation of his life by Michael Robinson.

Our occasional series on Swedophile publishing houses in other European countries, begun in SBR 2005:1 by Carmen Cima in Italy, continues with Philippe Bouquet’s reflection on the highs and lows of a literary translator’s relations with publishers in France.

Xiao Rundcrantzfrom Red Prosecutor
Xiao Rundcrantz
Translated by Marlaine Delargy
This remarkable book tells the true story of Xiao Rundcrantz' path from a poverty-stricken childhood through her work as a highly successful and well-respected prosecutor in China until she moved to Sweden in 1998. The book provides a fascinating and terrifying insight into the status of women in China. Marlaine Delargy introduces Xiao Rundcrantz and presents her translation of the Prologue to Red Prosecutor.
Göran Sonnevifrom Mozart's Third Brain and The Ocean
Selected poems by Göran Sonnevi
Translated by Rika Lesser
Göran Sonnevi is the winner of the Nordic Council Literature Prize 2006. Rika Lesser introduces Sonnevi's volumes of poems Mozart's Third Brain and The Ocean and presents her translations of several poems from each.
Fredrik Sjöbergfrom The Fly Trap
Fredrik Sjöberg
Translated by Henning Koch
The Fly Trap is an autobiographical account of one man's emotional and intellectual journey into the heart of entomology. The featured excerpt, translated and introduced by Henning Koch, is the two opening chapters of the book, in which the author at first struggles to express his identity in a thespian world of glamour and meaningless gesture. In the second chapter he attempts a justification of the life-changing decision he has made to withdraw from his hectic life as a props assistant at the National Theatre of Stockholm and devote himself to fly collecting.

Petter Lindbergfrom Planet of Memories
Petter Lindberg
Translated by Neil Smith
Petter Lindberg was born and lives in Helsinki, where he is the cultural editor of Finland's Swedish-language radio service. His novel Planet of Memories recounts the crash-landing of a spaceship on a mysterious planet able to manipulate the ship's crew psychologically. As with all good science-fiction writing, Planet of Memories addresses contemporary themes from an oblique angle and in doing so illuminates them in unexpected and thought-provoking ways.

The Joys and Pains of Translating Scandinavian Literature into French
Philippe Bouquet
French translator and author Philippe Bouquet, winner of Ivar Lo-Johanssons prsonliga pris in 1995, presents an outline of the history and current situation concerning the translation of Scandinavian literature into French.

Göran Printz-PåhlsonObituary: Göran Printz-Påhlson
Michael Robinson
Michael Robinson presents his obituary of poet, critic, translator and long-standing Swedish Book Review Advisory Editor Göran Printz-Påhlson (1931-2006).


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