Announcing Translated Tuesday
A couple of months ago, I mentioned that after reading The Elegance of the Hedgehog I wanted to read more translated fiction. Since then Claire and I have received several lovely books from small publishers of translated work. Today is the first in a new weekly series, Translated Tuesday, to share the bounty with you. Each week we’ll introduce our readers to a translated work of fiction, mostly by living writers. We’re planning on running the series at least through the summer.
After learning about Europa Editions, publisher of translated works in United States, including The Elegance of the Hedgehog and also Old Filth, I decided to read one of their Italian translations, Clash of Civilizations Over an Elevator in Piazza Vittorio by Amara Lakhous. It is the perfect book to introduce this series because the beloved character, Amedeo, is a translator who loves his work: “translation is a journey over a sea from one shore to the other. Sometimes I think of myself as a smuggler: I cross the frontiers of language with my booty of words, ideas, images and metaphors. ”
The setting for Clash is an apartment building in an immigrant section of Rome. One of the tenants, the Gladiator, was murdered. The mystery is less about who murdered the disliked thug, but who really is the much admired neighbor, Amedeo, who disappeared the day of the murder. Each chapter in the novella is told in the voice of a different tenant followed by a few of Amedeo’s journal entries reflecting back on that character.
Racism and Immigration
Clash is a novella packed with themes. The most obvious is racism and immigration; apparently the inability to like people different from yourself is universal. The apartment building is a combination of immigrants and Italians who in one form or another fight over the elevator. The Milan professor dislikes the southern Italians, the Roman bar owner dislikes Read the rest of this entry »