2010:2 Issue

Editorial2010:2 Issue

It was very cheering for the translation community to hear bestselling Henning Mankell say in answer to a question on BBC Radio 4’s ‘Book Programme’ recently that if there was a hero in his life, it was the translator. Another of Sweden’s foremost crime writers, and one who also values his translators, is Håkan Nesser, whose Van Veeteren series is now appearing in English. His free-standing psychological thrillers are equally compelling, as the taster in this issue from The Worms on Carmine Street will show.

Agneta Pleijel is one of the doyennes of Swedish literary fiction. She has made historical fiction based on authentic background material her speciality. The extract from The Queen’s Surgeon sheds light on a fascinating period when surgeons were still treated with disdain.

We are in the company of poets in this issue of SBR, not only the three Swedish poets featured here, but also a wider community. This broader group, European and American, were those encountered by SBR’s editor when she attended a recent memorial day for Göran Printz-Påhlson in Cambridge. It was a scholarly yet inclusive and informal event, with friendly exchanges of ideas between poets, translators, translators who were poets, and vice versa. The distinction was gloriously blurred.

Assembling this issue of SBR has at times been rather melancholy work. The friends and colleagues attending the Cambridge event could not help mourning Göran’s death even as they celebrated his life and work. During the editorial process we also, sadly, received news from Sweden of the death of another featured poet, Ragnar Thoursie. With the help of his publisher we were able to contact his son, who told us that Thoursie, though in poor health, had been read the translations and was pleased with them, so they are published here as a tribute to him, with his son’s blessing.

Three poets, three very different approaches, three distinctive languages: the dizzying esoteric games of Printz-Påhlson; the warm social conscience and meditation on ageing offered by Thoursie; and from our third featured poet, Finland-Swedish Eva-Stina Byggmästar, a Sapphic voyage through the landscape of the imagination, its dazzling wordplay a real challenge to the heroic translator.

In this issue we introduce our new Bookshelf editor Anna Paterson. Anna is not only a translator but also reviews Scandinavian books for the British national press, World Literature Today and other publications. She brings energy, enthusiasm and impressive background knowledge to her new role.

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from The Worms on Carmine Street

Introduced and translated by James Walker

James Walker introduces and presents his translation of Håkan Nesser's twenty-third novel, The Worms on Carmine Street. In general, Nesser's novels can be split into three categories: crime novels featuring detective Van Veeteren, those featuring detective Barbarotti, and stand-alone novels where an intriguing crime or mystery unfolds, where the narrator is usually a writer. It is perhaps due to the choice of writer as narrator that Nesser's novels are always imbued with superb language and tone.

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from The Queen's Surgeon

Translated by Silvester Mazzarella

This first part of Pleijel's trilogy tells the story of Herman Schützer, a surgeon who attended Queen Lovisa Ulrika. Set in a poor, dirty, stinking 18th century Stockholm, it highlights Schützer as a pioneering surgeon whose work puts Sweden on course to become a leading player in the field of surgery at the time. Fragile friendship, male vanity, royal disfavour, and insatiable ambition all play their part in this novel.

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Care - a Nobler Form of Love

A tribute to Ragnar Thoursie (1919-2010) - poet and civil servant - who died aged 90 on 12 July 2010. Less than a year earlier, he had published his last collection of poetry, Sånger från äldreomsorgen (Songs from Old-Age Care).

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Seven Poems

Translated and introduced by Martin Murrell

Eva-Stina Byggmästar's trilogy of love poems saw its completed publication in May 2010. Exuding a childlike exhilaration at every step, the poet sets out on a journey with her partner through the gentle landscape of her imagination, filled with little poets, elves, naiads, nomads, flowers and flower girls. In all Byggmästar's recent work there is some dazzling wordplay and a sexual subtext that is both subtle and romantic.

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The Göran Printz-Påhlson Memorial Seminar and Poetry Reading, June 2010

Sarah Death reports from the memorial seminar and poetry reading held in Clare Hall, Cambridge, in June 2010 to celebrate the life and work of poet, translator and scholar Göran Printz-Påhlson. Former pupils and colleagues rubbed shoulders with the poet's friends and associates from Lund, the United States and Cambridge; his widow Ulla and their children Finn and Unn had travelled from Malmö for the event.

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Even a Sort of Lone Ranger

Extract from a personal memoir of Göran Printz-Påhlson (3 March 1931 - 27 July 2006). Written in August 2006 and presented at the memorial event at Clare Hall, 2 June 2010.

BOOKSHELF: REVIEWS, edited by Anna Paterson

Stig Dagerman, Tysk höst (German Autumn)

Norstedts, 2010. ISBN: 9789113023144

Reviewed by Laurie Thompson ▸Read Review


Stig Dagerman, Bränt barn (A Burnt Child)

Norstedts, 2010. ISBN: 9789113023151

Reviewed by Laurie Thompson ▸Read Review


Maria Hamberg, Drömfabriken (The Dream Factory)

Ordfront, 2010. ISBN: 9789170374234

Reviewed by Margaret Dahlström ▸Read Review


Anne Swärd, Till sista andetaget (Breathless)

Svante Weyler, 2009. ISBN: 9789185849338

Reviewed by Sarah Death ▸Read Review


Alexander Ahndoril, Diplomaten (The Diplomat)

Albert Bonniers förlag, 2009. ISBN: 9789100121730

Reviewed by Kevin Halliwell ▸Read Review


Magnus Florin, Ränderna (The Stripes)

Albert Bonniers förlag, 2010. ISBN: 9789100124458

Reviewed by Charles Harrison-Wallace ▸Read Review


Birgitta Stenberg, Eldar och is (Fires and Ice)

Norstedts, 2010. ISBN: 9789113026336

Reviewed by Henning Koch ▸Read Review


Maja Lundgren, Mäktig Tussilago (Powerful Coltsfoot)

Albert Bonniers förlag, 2010. ISBN: 9789100124403

Reviewed by Anna-Lisa Murrell ▸Read Review


Lars Jakobson, Vännerna (The Friends)

Albert Bonniers förlag, 2010. ISBN: 9789100122591

Reviewed by Carl Otto Werkelid ▸Read Review


Johan Theorin, Blodläge (A Place of Blood)

Wahlström & Widstrand, 2010. ISBN: 9789146220589

Reviewed by Marlaine Delargy ▸Read Review


John Ajvide Lindqvist, Lilla stjärna (Little Star)

Ordfront, 2010. ISBN: 9789170374036

Reviewed by Peter Graves ▸Read Review


Lars Kepler, Hypnotisören (The Hypnotist)

Albert Bonniers förlag, 2009. ISBN: 9789100124045

Reviewed by Anna Paterson ▸Read Review


Lars Kepler, Paganinikontraktet (The Paganini Contract)

Albert Bonniers förlag, 2010. ISBN: 9789100124694

Reviewed by Anna Paterson ▸Read Review


Jan Mårtenson, Mord i Havanna (Murder in Havana)

Wahlström & Widstrand, 2009. ISBN: 9789146220732

Reviewed by Eric Dickens ▸Read Review


Håkan Nesser, De ensamma (The Lonely)

Albert Bonniers förlag, 2010. ISBN: 9789100124502

Reviewed by James Walker ▸Read Review


Käbi Laretei, Vart tog all denna kärlek vägen? (Where Did All That Love Go?)

Norstedts, 2009. ISBN: 9789113019962

Reviewed by Sarah Death ▸Read Review


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