Poet, Journalist, Translator

Stephen Komarnyckyj

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I write about poetry, Ukraine and money laundering- why the hell not?

What to do if you find a naked woman in your wardrobe

By Steve Komarnyckyj, Mar 31 2014 03:38PM

Okay, I will be honest with you. I have no idea what to do if you find a naked, and almost certainly drunk, woman in your wardrobe. The title of this blog entry was just a cheap attention grabbing ploy. But, now that you are here, sit down, make yourself comfortable while I fetch a bottle of ice cold Horilka (Ukrainian vodka) and some rollmop herrings.


If you have read the previous entry you will know that the naked woman in the wardrobe incident occurs in the novel we are translating, Episodic Memory. It struck me that, from a commercial point of view, this ought to be a selling point but, ultimately it is a subplot of a subplot. This particular novel is as complicated as the mind of God who was once described as the greatest novelist but with a penchant for irrelevant subplots and useless minor characters. The moment you pluck a single vivid episode from the book you fail to convey a large part of its rich texture.


Also, should we translate Horilka as Vodka? Would we be reflecting the imposition of one culture on another tacitly endorsing the violent "Russification" of Ukraine in the target language?

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