I am annoyed by the nuisance of the pigeons that I see around me, their tiny feet making incoherent noise on the scaffolding and the canopy is distracting. Such is their power that they have forced me to retreat to my cold room than sit in the sunshine. It is peculiar how the pigeons that I have encountered in the cities are fearless of human presence, not only are they oblivious to traffic but also don’t think twice before encroaching human dwellings. Anyway, this isn’t the central theme here.
Starting last year(beginning of 2018), I resolved to accumulate and read as much foreign literature as possible. Literature from countries that isn’t famous in USA, England, Australia, India or other English literature producing powerhouses. Translations of texts known and unknown; They needn’t be considered national literature but whatever I could gauge from blogs and after scouring the internet. I won’t call myself an anglocentric reader but this year I decided to broaden the horizons more.
My peculiar habit of visiting bookstores and coffee shops whenever I visit a new city has helped me amass books which is definitely Tsundoku in Japanese terms. By reading the books I bought, I would not only clear the backlog but also will try to achieve the goal that I set myself for the year.
I ended up reading a few books, stories, travelogues, biographies, historical narratives, forgotten folk tales. I am yet to gauge what did I learn in the process but it is definitely interesting to see how the idiosyncrasies of an individual, his/her background, formative years, beliefs, thought process, rationality, exposure shape up the writing style and the language used. The entire exercise reflected on the wide range of emotions, temporal, and behavioral differences among the societies providing an inkling to what that micro or macroscopic world sympathizes with.
Life isn’t found only in large cities but finds it ways in nooks and the smallest corners of the world and many of the works dealt with those lives. It is comforting and disconcerting at the same time to have a realization that all of us are an ordinary human being living our ordinary lives on an extraordinary planet. The simple life modeled by love, sorrow, laughter, innocence, desire, vice, and sinister political play.
I won’t bore you with the entire list here but I cherished reading a few of them.
|Country||Name of the book||Author|
|Estonia||The Man who spoke snakish||Andrus Kivirähk|
|Finland||The Year of the hare||Arto Paasilinna|
|Iceland||Independent people||Halldor Laxness|
|Zimbabwe||The hairdresser of Harare||Tendai Huchu|
The man who spoke snakish written in a mythical parallel world knows no bounds to the imagination, it presents the constant struggle and doubt that pervades human mind while the central character in The year of the hare seemed to have transcended the bounds of the human world. The entire setting is incredible yet believable.
Metropole is a dystopian world which can make one shudder if something like that happened in real life while Nescio aka J H F Grönloh writes in a simple yet sublime and effective way about the promises of the youth, the perspectives, and win-loss cycle.
I don’t know what I learned from the process whether I successfully finished it or not but I definitely relished it despite knowing the fact many emotions and feelings that words had to convey were simply lost in translation.