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Another surprise from the Kazakh PEN Club

Another surprise from the Kazakh PEN Club

On September 28, Mukhtar Auezov would have turned 120 years old. For this special date the international Kazakh PEN Сlub with the financial support of the Almaty city akimat has prepared the publication of the collection of Auezov’s flash fiction "Beauty in Mourning" ("Красавица в трауре") in English language. We would like to remind that the national program "Ruhani Zhangyru", among other things, involves the translation of the Kazakh writers’ works into major foreign languages.

The book, published in the Russell Press Ltd, one of the best English printing publishers, includes stories and novels written by the classic of Kazakh literature in the 1920s and 1930s: "An Orphan’s Lot", "Beauty in Mourning", "Savage Grey", "Gunshot at the Pass" and others. Today the book has been placed in the largest international online store "Amazon" and became available to all English-speaking readers anywhere in the world.

The "Beauty in Mourning" is the continuation of publication of a series of books under the general title "We – the Kazakhs ...". According to Bigeldy Gabdullin, president of the International Kazakh PEN Club, “this project was originally intended to introduce the world with the best works of our national literature”.

Someone may ask: why did they decide to translate Auezov's flash fiction into English instead of his famous "encyclopedia of the Kazakh life" – "Abai Zholy" (“The path of Abai”)? “Both existing translations of the novel-epic "Abai Zholy" in Russian are far from perfect, namely the translation has been conducted from Russian into English (in other way, it is not possible yet). As for the translations of novels and stories written in the 1920s and 1930s, they are authorized - that is, either the author performed them himself, or reviewed and approved them. Mukhtar Auezov translated these works in co-authorship with the Russian writer Leonid Sobolev”, clarifies Bigeldy Gabdullin.

The presentation of "Beauty in mourning", which took place in the House-Museum of Mukhtar Auezov, was attended by English translation writers Simon Hollingsworth and Simon Geoghegan, more than a quarter of a century specializing in translations of Russian-language literature.

“We call the work on Mukhtar Auezov's flash fiction - a difficult happiness;” - they confessed – “In the beginning, there was a struggle with the language. In the Kazakh language there are concepts that could not be translated into English. And we, explaining and describing to the international reader such words as" aul", "barymta" or "dastarkhan", had to make it so as not to ruin the pace of the magnificent narrator Auezov with overwhelming details. But the most difficult in our work as translators was the transfer of the author's voice. Auezov spoke with the reader on behalf of the collective subconscious. And he, as any great writer, felt and heard the voice of the people literally with his skin. No, better to say - through space, talking with God himself. Trying to be true to the spirit of the people, he, like his hero Bakhtygul, walked a narrow path along the edge of the abyss.”

The first English focus group of "Beauty in mourning" was the 78-year-old father of Simon Geoghegan. "I did not rush him with the deadlines, but my father was so engaged with the text, that he read a voluminous book in three days,” – says the translator. – “Before that, Kazakhstan was for him a white blank sheet. Having got acquainted with the world shown in the works of the Kazakh classic, my father rushed to the map. Seeing the country that in its size exceeds the whole of Europe taken together, my father was shocked! According to him, this book, through which he felt the aroma of the Great Steppe, had to be translated much earlier.”

In three years the International Kazakh PEN Club has published seven books of the Kazakh authors in English in a series "We – the Kazakhs ..." These are the works of Mukaghali Makatayev, Berdibek Sokpakbayev, Abish Kekilbayev, Olzhas Suleimenov, Smagul Yelubay, Herold Belger and now Mukhtar Auezov. Within the framework of the project "We – the Kazakhs..." it is planned to translate the best 25 books of the Kazakh authors. The next on the line is the famous Oralkhan Bokeev

Author: Sarah SADYK
Автор admin, 22-09-2017, 10:13

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