Saturday, July 07, 2007

Everybody should read Victor Erofeyev

There it is - another one of my obscure book recommendations. I don't know how much of Viktor Erofeyev's work has been translated into English - at least Life with an Idiot, which I haven't read. According to wikipedia, there's more in French, so if you have that language under your belt (or indeed, Russian, or like me, Finnish), and you enjoy a sharply satirical voice, make sure to check him out.

I have recently read his book Mushinyi, "Men", in its Finnish translation "Miehet" (as far as I can tell, a fine translation indeed, thank you Jukka Mallinen) - a collection of essays on, you'd never guess, men and on being a man - a matter of great interest to me, as it is something I can only wonder about. I have been delighted by the sharpness of his tongue, by the unrelenting way he rips into various aspects of society and human folly - but even more than that, I have loved the sudden outbursts, quite in spite of the satire and indeed, of the author's inclinations, the outbursts, in spite of himself, of his overwhelming sense of pity. Pity for mankind, pity for folly, pity for everyone on the planet.

I think that's lovely.

For good measure, I shall attempt a translation on a few wee snippets from the final essay in the collection I read - and do please note this is a translation of a translation, which will mean increased inaccuracies, as in photocopying. The essay is in praise of the physical male...again, a topic fascinating to me:

"I delight in watching a man when he walks and holds a child by the hand. A small hand in a big hand. I like this simple disproportion.
A man has gentle skin. It is so gentle you would like to touch it, continuously, with your hands.
The beauty of a sleeping man is difficult to describe in any language.
Have you ever seen the eyes of a masturbating man?
They are filled with dry tears."

Do you know, I think that is really lovely too.


NMJ said...

Oh, Anna MR, I would love to try to read this man in French one of these days, in the absence of an English translation, I love all of the examples you have kindly given us, my favourite being:

A man has gentle skin. It is so gentle you would like to touch it, continuously, with your hands.

But that may be because I could be about to commit an act of folly.

There is synchronicity here with us, by the way, I have a draft post, words of writers that I love, was planning on posting tomorrow.


Anna MR said...

An act of folly, gentle NMJ?

This sounds most engaging, and I wish you much luck and enjoyment with it...

Synchronicity seems to be about us bloggers, these days. It is a startling but good thing.

Look forward to reading the post tomorrow...