The reviewer does a good job here, describing the novella and offering her impressions in a clear and intriguing manner. Read the sample then bought the book (iPad‘s instant gratification has thinned my wallet). It’s odd, but for some time now translations have seemed more interesting to me than a lot of current English language literature. Saramago, Bolaño, Per Petterson, Ninni Holmqvist– the act of translation imparts a formality and strangeness to the text that I find very appealing.
Jean-Christophe Valtat’s “03”
Reviewed by Emma Garman
In Jean-Christophe Valtat’s dazzling English-language debut, 03, a lyric from The Smiths’ Nowhere Fast sums up the narrator’s attitude toward feelings: “And if the day came when I felt a natural emotion / I’d get such a shock I’d probably lie / in the middle of the street and die.” This belief that emotions, ones worth having anyway, are the result of conscious decisions, “long and involved tactical maneuvers,” underpins his tortured yet exquisitely expressed subjectivity—where the reader is deliciously mired for the brief, spellbinding duration of this single-paragraph novella, in which a man remembers his seventeen-year-old self’s obsession with a developmentally-disabled girl.
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