I was planning to write about Homer’s Odyssey next, but I’m tied up copyediting my new book, so I thought I’d try some Friday afternoon bookish diversion by adding a couple of links instead.
The first is to a First Tuesday Book Club discussion of Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina I joined in August 2010, along with Richard Flanagan and the usual suspects Jennifer Byrne, Jason Steger and Marieke Hardy. Tolstoy is one of my favourite writers, if not my favourite, so I was very excited to be asked to join this conversation about Anna Karenina, even though I think War and Peace is still my favourite Tolstoy novel.
I was especially pleased that we were given the new 2000 translation by Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky to read, which I hadn’t read before, and it’s absolutely brilliant. I’d previously read Rosemary Edmonds’ 1954 translation, twice, and loved it very much, but as the contrast between the two versions of the famous opening sentence shows, the new translation is sharper:
‘All happy families are alike but an unhappy family is unhappy after its own fashion.’ (1954)
‘All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.’ (2000)
The other link is to a piece I wrote on Bolivia’s new Mother Earth legislation for the Overland blog. The legislation is a revolutionary response to climate change and environmental damage and I think it’s very exciting, potentially epoch changing. My piece was originally called ‘Zombies v the planet’ and couched in terms of a confrontation between corporations and the earth, but I toned it down and it’s now quite sober and demure. I plan to write more about it anon.