20th-century Saga of the Reindeer-herding Evenki to Be Rendered in Turkish

Dedalus Kitap has purchased the Turkish publishing rights to Chi Zijian’s Last Quarter of the Moon, confirms Grayhawk Agency’s Gray Tan,who represents the author worldwide. The novel has already appeared in English (my rendition), ItalianDutch, and Spanish too.

The_Last_Quarter_of_the_MoonThis seems especially fitting, as the Evenki speak a Tungusic tongue that—like Turkish and Mongolian—is a member of the Altaic family of languages.

Narrated in the first person by the aged wife of the last chieftain of an Evenki clan, Last Quarter of the Moon (额尔古纳河右岸) is a moving tale of the decline of reindeer-herding nomads in the sparsely populated, richly forested mountains that border on Russia.

Over the last three centuries, three waves of outsiders have encroached upon the Evenki’s isolated way of life: the Russians, whose warring and plundering eventually pushed the Evenki down from Siberia to the southern bank of the Argun River, the tributary of the Amur that defines the Sino-Russian border; the Japanese, who forcibly recruited them into the ranks of the Manchukuo Army; and the Han Chinese of the People’s Republic, who felled the forests that are crucial to the survival of reindeer, outlawed hunting, and eventually coerced the Evenki to leave the mountains for life in a “civilized” permanent settlement.

“Het laatste kwartier van de maan”: Launching August 20

Het Laatste Kwartier van de MaanLaunch Date: August 20, 2013

If you don’t know Chinese and prefer not to read Chi Zijian’s classic <额尔古纳河右岸> about the twilight of the Evenki in later this year you can enjoy it in Dutch—Het laatste kwartier van de maan. It will be available from The House of Books beginning the latter part of August. But please note: the Dutch is based on . . . my English translation.

You might like to compare this Dutch cover with that of the Italian edition and the English. The eyes (above) look distinctly Chinese to me, which is a bit odd; the Evenki are a Siberian people more closely related to the Manchu than the Han.

Click here for full background on Last Quarter of the Moon, including book reviews, all foreign language editions and research about the Evenki.

Chi Zijian, la mort des shamans et des éleveurs de rennes

Bertrand Mialaret examine la traduction anglaise du roman chinois de Chi Zijian, Last Quarter of the Moon (额尔古纳河右岸, 迟子建著), l’histoire de la crépuscule des Evenki dans la dernière partie du XXe siècle (l’article français en entier):

Les Evenki ont de l’amour pour leurs rennes qui sont beaucoup plus qu’un troupeau, presque des partenaires. « In my eyes, white reindeer are clouds fleeting across the face of the earth. I’ve never encountered another animal that possesses the docile temperament and endurance of the reindeer . . . Reindeer were certainly bestowed upon us by the Spirits, for without these creatures we would not be.»

Les hommes et les rennes s’accompagnent mutuellement dans les migrations à la recherche des mousses pour les rennes et de nouveaux terrains de chasse. Ils sont libres avec leurs grelots mais reviennent chaque soir au camp. On ne mange pas leur chair, on boit leur lait et on les utilise pour transporter hommes et campements.

Les rennes sont l’obstacle majeur à une vie plus sédentaire. Comme dit la narratrice: « my reindeer have committed no crime and I don’t want to see them imprisoned either .»

Update: Mialaret has just put this piece up in English: Chi Zijian, the Death of Shamans and Reindeer Herders.

《额尔古纳河右岸》的英文译者: “因为书里的故事感动了我”

伦敦出版商 Harvill Secker 一月 17 日推出了东北作家迟子建的第一本译成英文的小说,Last Quarter of the Moon。为了《中华读书报》,慷慨先生找到我,进行了有关我翻译这本小说的采访:


徐穆实 [Bruce Humes]:首先要明白一个事实:书名一般由出版方来定,译者甚至原作家的想法只是建议罢了。要知道,外文版权是外国出版社拥有的,当然是他们说了算。

我的建议本来是直译:The Right Bank of the Argun。这书名不仅忠实原作,也方便引起西方读者的好奇心。因为用“右岸”表达河流的方位有点莫名其妙,西方读者习惯用东南西北来表达。就算西方读者 不知道这条河是几百年以来中俄边境的界线,单凭这种奇特的表达方式,也会引起他们的好奇心。

但英格兰的出版人被早些出版的《额尔古纳河右岸》意大利译文的书名 Ultimo quarto di luna 所吸引,就把它译成英文的 The Last Quarter of the Moon

全文可以在此下载 PDF 版