Daniel Kehlmann and Ross Benjamin have together created an updated version of the tales of Tyll Ulenspiegel, trickster. There is a long line of retellings of this man’s story. He first appeared in print in a pamphlet published in 1515 which has Tyll born in Brunswick in the 1300s and dying of the plague inContinue reading “Tyll by Daniel Kehlmann (translated by Ross Benjamin)”
Pushing on towards the woods as his moment with the hens faded, Martin had an unfamiliar sense of confidence and control. He could hear running water before sudden shards of memory sliced sharp and brutal through his senses. They wiped out images of feathers and dust and warm sunlight and instead he felt his mother’s touch and heard his own whimpers drowned in the sound of running water. Close by a cow was drinking from a water trough with an automated filler on it. In the hissing gurgling sounds a long-dead voice whispered, ‘Let me help you.’ Martin felt again her touch steal wet and cold across the picture. An arctic cold bathroom, glittered with white tiles, the cold tap running, chilled menace. The voice. The sound of the water. Martin stopped dead in his tracks. He heard the surging sound now easing, as the cow finished drinking and stepped away. Martin was on his knees.
It’s rare that a novel, especially a first novel, transports the reader so completely and so persistently into another space. Djinn Patrol on the Purple Line by Deepa Anappara is set om a large but unspecified Indian city. Young children have started to disappear from a local basti, a slum. The eponymous Djinn Patrol is a small group of children led by nine year old Jai, a little boy who along with his friends lives in the basti. Obsessed with television cop programmes and keen to become a detective, Jai decides to investigate.
Years ago I read pretty much all of Vladimir Nabokov’s novels and short stories. Stray words and phrases from his work have stayed with me and might be why reading Salman Rushdie’s Quichotte reminded me of those years.
There are plenty of references in Quichotte to chew on, from Nabokov, Shakespeare and Homer to US soap operats. It’s a multilayered story blurring various narrators’ identities and the boundaries between parallel and increasingly porous stories.