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a time for fear
 
Friday, June 27, 2003  
Just found out today that Creation books have finally - astonishingly - published an English translation of Pierre Guyotat's Tomb for 500, 000 Soldiers. The only Guyotat novel available in English before now was Eden, Eden, Eden, also published by Creation in 1995. Translating that was a minor miracle in itself. I don't think I've ever read it properly, even though I've read most of the actual text. To read it in the way it's intended - in one intense, unbroken burst (the 160-page novel is in fact just one continual sentence, a fervid, feverish series of clauses that break and bleed and clot) would just be too exhausting, too wearying, too dangerous. The only approach is a cautious offensive: attack and retreat, a succession of surges and breaks. It's a translation for which Graham Fox should take much credit, because there is nothing like this in the English language, not even Genet and Sade in translation match this damaged pitch of linguistic, visual and viseceral potency and force. First published in France in 1970 (and immediately banned) it's a novel that seems more startlingly portentious with each new decade of human debasement and atrocity (you thought it suited the 70s well, and that was that, but then it fitted Eastern Europe's 90s perfectly, and will carry on doing so, will always do so). Disturbing proof that experimental French novels are far from apolitical, because Guyotat writes the most extended, comprehensive, and acute political novels that I have read (or not read if you see, but experienced...).

11:21 PM

 
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