Behind the Book: David Colmer

20 Jul 2016

This week on Behind the Book, we caught up with award-winning Dutch and Flemish translator David Colmer. David is the translator behind our charming edition of Annie M. G. Schmidt’s Tow-Truck Pluck, one of the Netherlands most popular children’s books of all time.

Read on to find out about David’s translating routine, why he thinks Annie Schmidt’s books are so special and the Indonesian phrase David thinks everyone should use.

Do you have a particular translating routine?
I always work through the book from start to finish and then go back to the start for the next draft, and the next, and the next. This isn’t always an efficient way to work, because sometimes you only find out towards the end that a particular word or name or phrase should have been translated in a certain way, but I enjoy translating the book as a kind of incredibly slow reader, discovering the detail of how it’s built up as I go along.

Why did you want to bring Annie Schmidt’s books to an English-speaking audience?
Annie’s books are not just a lot of fun and great to read, either to yourself or out loud to younger kids, they also have a deep humanity and are very pro-child. They’re warm and loving, but never saccharine.

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5 books to cool you down

19 Jul 2016

It’s official, the mercury has hit the quite ridiculous height of 34C in what is surely the hottest day of the year. To save you from succumbing to this unreasonable heat, we’ve got the chilliest of tales for you. Set in icy places and snowy tundras from Finland to Iceland, these books are guaranteed* to make you want to put on a scarf and gloves.

The Lure of the North

Part of our wonderful collection with The London Library, this short read explores the beautiful and icy landscapes of Norway, peppered with delightfully snowy Scandinavian sketches and even a cruise on the Hardanger Fiord, complete with blue glaciers.

Butterflies in November by Auður Ava Ólafsdóttir

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10 books from across Europe

11 Jul 2016

Considering the current political climate, it seems ever more important to find something we can all agree on. One thing which is beyond reproach, in our humble opinion, is the excellence of literature written on European soil. To this end, we’re proposing a summer of reading Europe!

We’ll be posting updates of the European novels we’re reading here in the Pushkin Press office to keep you inspired and we invite you to tweet us with the European literature you’re devouring this summer.

Here are our 10 brilliant books by authors from across Europe to get you started. From Antal Szerb’s beautiful Hungarian classic Journey by Moonlight to gloriously gritty Swedish noir debut Clinch, there’s an extraordinary European novel to suit all tastes.

France
Soft in the Head by Marie-Sabine Roger
A huge bestseller in France, Marie Sabine-Roger’s heartwarming novel is a touching and comic tale about the power of books. We challenge you not to fall in love with Germain and Margueritte!

Hungary
Journey by Moonlight by Antal Szerb
A major classic of Hungarian literature, Szerb’s Journey by Moonlight is both moving and darkly funny, charting the story of bourgeois businessman torn between duty and desire.

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Affections: a sneak peek

06 Jul 2016

Affections is one of those books which has the whole Pushkin office hooked.

We think it’s the perfect alternative summer read: it won’t take up much space in your suitcase but it’ll stay with you long after your vacation is over.

Loosely based on real events, Affections tells the story of the eccentric, fascinating Ertl family, headed by the egocentric and extraordinary Hans, once Leni Riefenstahl’s famous cameraman and Rommel’s ‘personal photographer’. Having fled Germany shortly after the country’s defeat in the war, the family now lives in Bolivia.

Against the backdrop of the both optimistic and violent 1950s and 1960s, Affections traces the Ertls’ inevitable breakdown through the various erratic trajectories of each family member – from Hans and his constant engagement in colossal projects, to his daughter Monika, heir to his adventurous spirit, who joins the Bolivian Marxist guerrillas and becomes known as ‘Che Guevara’s avenger’ – and the story of a woman in search of herself, the story of the heartrending relationship between a father and a daughter, the story of a family adrift.

Read a sneak peek here >

Buy a copy of Affections for your vacation (or staycation!) now.

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