Tuesday, February 06, 2007

A short referát--Myši Natálie Mooshabrové

I am finally making more of a good-faith effort to read my collection of Fuks, both as a way to assimilate his oeuvre prepatory to future translation efforts and just as an attempt to keep myself in Czech input. I can stil read, and, from what I can tell by talking to myself, my spoken skills aren't going away as quickly as I might fear.

I've recently read 1970's Myši Natálie Mooshabrové, (Natálie Mooshabrová's Mice). It's a change of pace thematically for me, as there is no perspective on the encroaching Holocaust, (as in My Black-Haired Brothers, Burner of Corpses, The Way to the Promised Land, and parts of Death of a Guinea Pig). The sense of horror and alienation in a confusing and ill-defined world remains, however. We are placed somewhere in a great Czech-speaking city, a sort of alternate Prague, fleshed out only with a few almost-real placenames, in a world where flights to the moon are becoming commonplace. Even people's names add to the disorientation--the title character's long dead husband was called Medard Mooshaber and their children are Wezr and Nabule. The police drop in unannounced, every civil servant in the city is evidently independently preparing a Dies irae, strange things occur in the cemetery Natálie works in, seedy characters appear and dissapear, and the crowds in the streets gather for a reckoning and a long-practiced requiem. (I don't normally talk like this, do I?)

And this is about all anyone will get to read of it in English for some time, unless someone picks this up as a project before me, which I simultaneously would embrace and fear; it's a lengthy work, and a bit farther down on my translating list, after the novella I'm currently working on, and then his first novel, Mr. Theodor Munstock. I mean, it's not like there's just a Czech version; I've definitely found Hungarian and German translations, and there might be an Italian--I've seen it referenced by name, at any rate. Maybe 2009 or 2010, the way I've been going, for a second draft?


Plaid Avenger said...

I'd love to read whatever you have done....hint...hint....HINT...

Jan said...

This is one of my favourite books, good luck!