今回は、フリーランス翻訳者で読書が大好きなWendy Uchimuraさんに、本のサイトWords Without Bordersをご紹介していただきます。このサイトでは毎月テーマを設定し、世界各国の文学作品を翻訳し紹介しています。2012年７月の特集は日本文学です。川上弘美、倉橋由美子、目取真俊など８人の作家によるファンタジー短編の英語訳がサイトに掲載されています。どの作品も数ページの分量なので気楽に読め、日本語の原文と比較しながら読むこともできます。短編の内容と特徴については、Wendyさんの記事を読んでください。
If you’re searching for something to read over the summer, look no further!
Words Without Borders, an online magazine which introduces international contemporary literature is doing a special double issue on New Writing from Japan. The collection of eight translated stories, that can be found here, are an unusual blend of fantasy meets reality and best of all, they’re free! There are heads that grow like pumpkins in a patch(“Apollo’s Head” by Yumiko Kurahashi), a vaporized boyfriend taking trips out in a thermos flask (“Vaporization” by Keita Jin), and an entire empire run on the same unspoken rules as at school (“The History of the Decline and Fall of the Galactic Empire” by Toh Enjoe). While they seem quite advanced English, even skimming through them can give you an idea of the image the author has created.
If I had to name a favorite, it would have to be Hideo Nagai’s “Underground City” with its gothic atmosphere and creepy twists, but each work has its own uniqueness that takes you through strange yet familiar worlds. Have a look and see which reality appeals to you. Although they represent a new trend in Japanese literature, most of the writings are from over the last ten years or so, making it easy for you to compare the English to the Japanese as the original books should be readily available in libraries.
The second part of this double-issue on Japan will be online in August and the guest editor Michael Emmerich promises that the works featured then will be slightly more ’normal’. If you enjoy these, check it out, or even if you don’t find something here you like, maybe next month you will!
Wendy Uchimura is a freelance translator based in Yokohama, Japan. When she’s not working on the merchandising rights of cute cartoon characters or the latest Tokyo trends, she can be found lost in a good book with a nice cup of tea and a biscuit.