Friday, 18 April 2008

Jittery Tag

Nervous. Bowlserised has dared me to do the following:

1. Pick up the nearest book (of at least 123 pages).
2. Open the book to page 123.
3. Find the fifth sentence.
4. Post the next three sentences.
5. Tag five people.

I have to cheat because I know nobody wants to read the fifth to seventh sentence on page 123 of Sesamstrasse von A bis Z. Most of the sentences are things like: "Ein Buchstabe stimmt nicht. Wie heißt es richtig?"

But also at arm's reach (must do some tidying) is Irmgard Keun's Child of All Nations. What a coincidence! Translated from German by Michael Hofmann, and recently published by Penguin Classics. I haven't started reading it yet so I'll just give you the jacket blurb:

'Irmgard Keun's hugely engaging child-narrator travels headlong through Europe and through life's lessons, while the world careens towards war. With the flashbulb of a single phrase, character and milieu are revealed to the core; and despite - or rather because of - Keun's precision, this book breathes compassion. There is room for everything - shrewdness, forgiveness, wit and loneliness - while love makes all its hopeless deals with hope.' Anne Michaels, author of Fugitive Pieces.

Nice use of the word "careens" there, don't you think? And the sentences are:

Some young Americans were sitting at the next table, drinking champagne, and waving their hands and talking loudly all at once. The Swiss man kept looking at my mother with his ill-looking green eyes. He wanted to be nice to her and treated her to a bottle of Vichy water, and said: 'You must have been very beautiful when you were younger.'

How fitting. And what a lovely slap-in-the-face compliment.

The only problem now is that I'm a bit new at this malarkey and can only think of one person to pass it on to - partly, I admit, because I've noticed similar things on other blogs I read like is a blog so I don't want people to have to repeat themselves. But then I was always one to break chain letters and the like, so who cares?

So, literary rapture, you're up next.


Bowleserised said...

Ah! I just started reading The Artificial Silk Girl and am already annoyed by the translation. This sounds much better.

kjd said...

Don't let it put you off! This may be the book worth learning German for... *very* Sally Bowles - which I assume you know already.

Bowleserised said...

I promise not to be put off!