Most exciting bit of literary news I've heard in a long time came across my desk the other day -- Oğuz Atay's Tutunamayanlar will be published in English translation this month! This novel was a huge influence on Pamuk at the beginning of his career, and has repeatedly been cited as one of the books most in need of a translation into English.
The translation is by Atay's friend (and the book's dedicatee) Sevin Seydi; an excerpt previously won the Dryden Translation Competition. Here is Olric Press's flyer:
Oğuz Atay: The Disconnected [Tutunamayanlar]
translated by Sevin Seydi
715- pages, hardback only, 1/200 copies, published 17 March 2017.
Olric Press is pleased to announce for its first publication a major work in the canon of world literature. The Disconnected was the first book of Oğuz Atay (1934-1977), and was before its time. First published in 1972, it was a cult book among younger writers (Orhan Pamuk, for example, has recorded that he read it twice in the year it came out), but Atay never saw a second printing before his premature death. Since it was reprinted in 1984 it has gone through more than 70 editions, and is widely reckoned to be the most important book in modern Turkish literature.
“My life was a game, but I wanted it to be taken seriously,” says Selim, the anti-hero of the novel. But the game has a terrible end with his suicide, and his friend Turgut’s quest to understand this is the story of the book. He meets friends whom Selim had kept separate from each other, he finds documents in a kaleidoscopic variety of styles, sometimes hugely funny, sometimes very moving, as Selim rails against the ugliness of his world whether in satire or in a howl of anguish, taking refuge in words and loneliness. Under layers of fantasy is the central concept of the Disconnected, Tutunamayanlar, literally ‘those who cannot hold on’, poor souls among whom he counts himself, whose sole virtue is that they do not fit into society as it is constituted. He will be their messiah, at whose second coming they will change places with the comfortable of the world. Confronted with this Turgut sees the faultline in his conventional middle class life, and that he too is one of the Disconnected: he takes a train into Anatolia and ‘vanishes’. What could have been a bleak vision of alienation is transformed by the power of language and the imagination.
In 2002 UNESCO put The Disconnected at the head of their list of Turkish books of which translation was essential, warning that it would be very difficult. A German translation in 2016 was well received (e.g., Neue Zürcher Zeitung, 26 June, found it astonishing that this masterpiece should wait 45 years to appear in German), and needed three printings in six months. But English was the language Atay knew and loved, and his confrontation with literature in English, notably Hamlet and the King James version of the gospels, is a feature of the book. An English translation is therefore called for, and by good chance one has long existed. Sevin Seydi (to whom the original was dedicated) made a rough translation page by page as Atay was actually writing the book, almost as a game with the author, and discussed it with him. After 40 years living, studying, working, marrying in England she has thoroughly revised it, and it should be the definitive version.
This limited edition, with paper and binding of archival quality, is available at £50 or $75 post paid.
Available only from the publisher. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Olric Press, 13 Shirlock Road, London NW3 2HR, UK
(44) 207 485 9801
Sunday, October 30th, 2016
If Never Let Me Go and Infinite Jest had a baby, it would be episode 2 of Black Mirror: Fifteen Million Merits.
Sunday, October second, 2016
I would have written several enthusiastic posts raving about Josh Fruhlinger's new novel (his first), The Enthusiast. It is such a treat.
Saturday, September 24th, 2016
A meme going around Facebook asks us to describe our own identity using 3 fictional characters. Mine? K. (Amerika), Ka (Snow), Kate (The Enthusiast).
Tuesday, February 16th, 2016
In the hallway he saw a poster: he was indeed approaching the exhibit. Paul Jackson Pollock, American Painter. He could see it at the end of the corridor, bursting riotously out of the doorway, lashing him with its lunacy — it looked to him like one of Van Gogh's stars had spun out of its orbit and smashed to pieces, cracked against the wall before him like an enormous egg. With a wary step he entered Pollock's kingdom.
--Marta Aponte, 1955: Lavender Mist
Saturday, June 27th, 2015
Not totally sure what to make of this yet... It is at the very least a fascinating idea for a project...
Thursday, February 19th, 2015
One nice side benefit of the class I took last spring at la Universidad Desconocida was the chance to meet classmate Isabel Zapata. Today her "Canción de Cuna para Sonámbulos" is online at Limulus along with my translation. Check it out! A beautiful poem.
Sunday, January 11th, 2015
Thursday, December 25th, 2014
May all your tidings be explicitly comfortable and feasibly joyous; may all your glory be in the highest.
Monday, November 17th, 2014
— My friend, you are a barbarian. You paint as if one eye were on the moon and the other on Mars. I don't like your work; but you have made me weep. And tears are the blood of sincerity. Cool -- two publications in a row of Marta Aponte Alsina translations! A story I translated last year is included in the November issue of The Acentos Review -- 1955: Lavender Mist.
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