Michelle Bailat-Jones

Writer, Translator, Reader

Hello Friday. Very happy to see you. I had my favorite book group last night in our lovely wine caveau. As we enjoyed one of the local wines and nibbled on some gruyère, we discussed John Berger’s To the Wedding. Not only was this a lively, thoughtful and somewhat emotional discussion, it brought me to realize something about the book that I (stupidly) hadn’t understood before. I can’t say what it is here because it might ruin the book for someone who hasn’t read it, but suffice it to say that it changes everything. In a good way. It elevated the novel from what was already a delicate, beautiful story into something more intimately connected to human compassion. To our desire to correct the wrongs of the world. I love how a book can become something else entirely through discussion with other involved readers.

Changing gears a little bit, I would like to put out a small request to my readers. Now, some of you, I believe, are non-Anglophone and some of you, I also believe, are writers as well as readers. I have a fun project coming up with a literary journal later this winter. I’m going to be their writer-in-residence for a month and I will be focusing on literature in translation. To do this properly, I’m looking for some French or Japanese writers who would be interested in submitting their short fiction to me for translation. If you, or someone you know, would like to submit a story, please let me know and I’ll give you more details. And for those of you who are not writers, but avid readers and enjoy my posts on translation, I’ll let you know when the month begins and where to follow along. I hope it will be interesting for everyone.

And with that, have a good weekend. I’ve just started Coetzee’s first novel Dusklands, set in America of all places, and Woolf’s second novel Night and Day. Looking forward to finishing both over the next two days.

8 Responses to “book group enlightenment and a project”

  1. smithereens

    Yes, yes, yes, I’m interested! I’ve (French) stories of different lengths. Please send me all the details!

  2. verbivore

    Oh good! I was thinking of you actually! I will send you an email with more details.

  3. Stefanie

    I’ve got no stories for you but what an interesting and exciting project. I look forward to hearing more about it!

  4. Charlotte

    I am very interested to read it! Please keep us informed. What an exciting project!

  5. verbivore

    Stefanie and Charlotte – I’m really excited about it as I’ll get to do a mix of fiction and translation as well as some essays and reviews. And I hope other people will enjoy following along.

  6. Biblibio

    I’ve rarely encountered those realization moments that might occur when reading in a group, but that’s because I’ve almost never read books with other people… The only cases I can think of are books from childhood when I would read with older people who taught me how to find subtle clues in the text. I have to wonder how much I’m missing today…

    That project sounds quite awesome. I can’t offer any stories, but as a fellow translator I’d like to live vicariously through your experience! Sounds like a lot of fun!

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