Friday, December 18, 2020

And wait

"Find your place... and wait."

Zgubiona Dusza, written by Olga Tokarczuk and illustrated by Joanna Concejo, will be available in English as The Lost Soul, translated by Antonia Lloyd-Jones, in February 2021.

I read it in Polish, just to see if I still could, and it's a bit of a game for me to craft a translation as I go.

The crux of the fable is this: Znaleźć sobie jakieś swoje miejsce… i poczekać.

A simple enough phrase with subtle variations in translation:

  • Lloyd-Jones: Find a place of your own... and wait.
  • Google Translate: Find a place for yourself... and wait. 
  • Google Translate via Italian: Find somewhere for yourself… and wait.

While our protagonist, a body without a soul, sets out to a quiet house on the outskirts, I like to think the directive is less about geographic location than state of mind. Find some kind of place for yourself. Find your place.

The text can't be much more than 500 words. The book is a near wordless meditation. His soul comes back to him after he journeys into memory, a kind of organic slowness of detail.

The story, such as it is, is told through evocative illustrations — they have an old-timey, earthy folkloric feel (photos can't do it justice). 

Also: vellum overlays!

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