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Last Quarter of the Moon (额尔古纳河右岸)

French Translation of Chi Zijian’s “Last Quarter of the Moon” Underway

Latest rendition of Chi Zijian's novel is the Japanese, which translates as "Right Bank of the Argun"
Latest rendition of Chi Zijian’s novel is the Japanese, which translates as “Right Bank of the Argun”

Update:

Le dernier quartier de lune to launch in September

 

Editions Philippe Picquier has acquired the French rights to Last Quarter of the Moon (额尔古纳河的右岸), and it will be co-translated by Stéphane Lévêque and Yvonne André. To date, Chi Zijian’s novel has been published in English (Last Quarter of the Moon), Spanish (A la orilla derecha del Río Argún ), Italian (Ultimo quarto di Luna) Dutch (Het laatste kwartier van de maan), and Japanese (アルグン川の右岸), and will appear in Turkish later this year.

Most recently, Lévêque rendered the first novel in Fan Wen’s trilogy set along the Yunnan-Tibetan border, Harmonious Land (水乳大地), as Terre de lait et de miel, as well as Han Han’s Son royaume (他的国), which is due out soon. But he and André collaborated previously to translate Shanghai writer Wang Anyi’s Le Chant des regrets éternels (长恨歌). See here for details on Lévêque’s other translations from Chinese into French.

Narrated in the first person by the aged wife of the last chieftain of an Evenki clan, the Last Quarter of the Moon, or Right Bank of the Argun — as it is dubbed in Chinese — is a moving tale of the decline of reindeer-herding nomads in the sparsely populated, richly forested mountains that border on Russia.

Categories
China's Ethnic-themed Fiction in Translation (中国民族题材文学的外译) Chinese Fiction by & about Ethnic Minorities (中国少数民族文学)

Chinese Fiction in Translation: Novels/Novellas with “Ethnic” Theme

Over the last few months a number of reporters have e-mailed to ask about the state of Chinese literature in translation, particularly in light of Mo Yan’s winning the 2012 Nobel Prize for Literature. But most cite just a handful of authors and works in their questions— and Shanghai Baby, translated by yours truly over a decade ago!—is often one of them.

My advice to them is simple: do your homework, please! For starters, check out Paper-Republic.  All sorts of goodies over there, including a list of translated Chinese fiction (and poetry) published in 2012, Chinese fiction published in 2013, and a Translator Directory too.

Here at Altaic Storytelling, we focus on writing by & about non-Han peoples, particularly those which speak an Altaic language, but not exclusively. And it is interesting to note that translated fiction with an “ethnic” twist has been building up steam for a while, pre-dating the Mo Yan craze, in fact.

To my mind, the impetus for the increased profile of Chinese literature in the outside world began when China was named “Guest of Honor” at the 2009 Frankfurt Int’l Book Fair. Chinese authors and publishers socialized with their European counterparts—many for the first time—and important contacts and contracts resulted, with the books born of this schmoozing finally hitting the market 2-3 years later.

In China is Focusing on the Fringes published in March this year, literary translator Nicky Harman presciently pointed out that “independent–minded Chinese writers are becoming seriously interested in the geographical fringes of ‘China proper’, drawing on its people, their traditions and conflicts at work.” And as you can see below, foreign publishers are interested. When you consider that over the last few years just 15 or so Chinese novels have appeared in English each year—ethnic or no—this table looks a bit more impressive.

Indeed. So, to show this more graphically—and perhaps even to save myself a bit of hassle in recreating the wheel for the next journalist who wants to pick my brains—I’ve put together this table. If you know something I should add to it, including current projects that will be published in 2014, please let me know!

Categories
Chinese Fiction by & about Ethnic Minorities (中国少数民族文学)

Au Tibet, les conflits sanglants entre Christ et Bouddha

Une_terre_de_lait2Dans Au Tibet, les conflits sanglants entre Christ et BouddhaBertrand Mialaret nous signale un roman et un événement actuels qui traitent sur l’histoire des religions au tibet du XIXe siècle:

Un livre et une exposition sont centrés sur les conflits sanglants entre le Christ et Bouddha à la frontière du Yunnan chinois et du Tibet. Deux événements simultanés mais sans lien entre eux.

Il s’agit de la publication en avril d’un roman de Fan Wen [范稳], « Une Terre de lait et de miel », et une exposition en cours, « Missions du toit du monde », aux Missions étrangères à Paris. Lire la suite . . .

For the English version of this article, click here.

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Interviews: Authors and Translators (作家与译者的采访)

Translator interview: Stéphane Lévêque, Chinese-to-French translator of Fan Wen’s “Harmonious Land”

As those knowledgeable about Chinese literature in translation may have noted, one occasionally finds European
publishers—particularly in France—are willing to translate and publish Chinese fiction long before these “unknown” authors are “discovered” by the English-speaking world. Ethnic ChinaLit spoke recently with Stéphane Lévêque, who is busy translating Harmonious Land (水乳大地) into French, the first novel [May 2014 note: now published as Une Terre de lait et de miel] in a trilogy by author Fan Wen (范稳) set along the borders of Yunnan and Tibet:

Vous avez été choisi pour traduire «Harmonious Land » (水乳大地) en français, et le roman sera publié par Philippe Picquier. Vous avez déjà traduit pas mal de livres du chinois, par exemple, «Le Chant des regrets éternels »  (长恨歌) de Wang Anyi (王安忆), ainsi que quelques livres de Jimmy Liao (几米).  Est-ce correct?

Pour être plus précis, j’ai traduit quelques textes de Yu Dafu (郁达夫), y compris « Rivière d’automne », la biographie de Jin Xing (金星), une danseuse transsexuelle anciennement colonel dans l’APL, et deux romans de Wang Anyi, «Amour sur une colline dénudée » (荒山之恋) et « Le Chant des regrets éternels » (co-traduit avec Yvonne André). J’ai aussi traduit quelques livres pour enfants chez Picquier dans la série « Táoqì bāo mǎ xiǎo tiào xìliè » (淘气包马小跳系列) de Yang Hongying (杨红樱), et enfin plusieurs albums de Jimmy Liao que j’adore pour les éditions Bayard.

Categories
Interviews: Authors and Translators (作家与译者的采访)

Interview with China Novelist Fan Wen: A Century of Cultural Collisions in Shangri-la


Shuiru Dadi
tells the tale of a multi-ethnic settlement in Lancangjiang Canyon—Gateway to Tibet—beset by battles between arrogant French Catholic missionaries, incompetent Han officials and their marauding troops, Naxi Dongba Shamanists, and the dominant Tibetans, not all of whom lead pacific, vegetarian lives in the local lamasery.

The saga spans most of the 20th century, hopping back and forth between the decades and capturing the non-linear Tibetan sense of time. Fan Wen’s imagination almost seems to get the better of him as Living Buddhas levitate, Shamans summon spirits for battle, and Communist Party officials rue their Red Guard days, but his tale is firmly rooted in the locale’s colorful history. Historical fiction with dabs of highly entertaining “supernatural realism” thrown in, if you like. 

Below, Ethnic ChinaLit’s Bruce Humes interviews Fan Wen (范稳), author of Shuiru Dadi (水乳大地). Nominated for the 2008 Maodun Literature Prize, the novel has sold nearly 50,000 copies in China, and Stéphane Lévêque, who rendered Wang Anyi’s Song of Everlasting Sorrow (恨歌) into French, has been chosen to translate Shuiru Dadi. [May 2014 update: the French version has been published as Une terre de lait et de miel by Philippe Picquier. See book cover below.] The rights to the English version are still open.