mjj (flemmings) wrote,

Dank, grey, chill not cold. At least I got my Asia-going cards mailed. Since four weeks isn't nearly long enough in these latter days, they must be New Year's cards, and will with luck arrive around the Epiphany. And why does the arrival of the Three Wise Guys get called by the term for a sudden enlightenment, one wonders.

Last finished?

Wanted cozy mysteries so, having been reminded of the existence of Imogen Quy, I read the first two Imogen Quys. I had completely forgotten the plots in the nine plus years since I read them last, which is a nice way to read mysteries, but still disconcerting. I mean, *nothing* rang a bell in either book.

The Diary and Poetic Memoirs of Murasaki Shikibu
-- Bowring's translation makes her sound marginally less wet than whatever other translation I read her in, but Bowring's notes inform me that half the time any passage can mean its exact opposite, depending how you take it: largely, depending on who you think the unnamed subject of the sentence is. Am reminded forcibly and again of Seidensticker's comparison of Heian prose to the transcripts of the Watergate tapes. Without tone of voice and inflection, sentences in both often make no sense at all. Also the usual Japanese 'you have to know what it means to know what it means': the courtiers and Nixon's cronies did, so they did.

Reading now?

Ovidia Yu, The Frangipani Tree Mystery

Flann O'Brien, The Dalkey Archive
-- biking reading. I suspect that, just as there's a generation of American writers- or two, or three, or mumblety many- who want to be Ernest Hemingway, so there's a generation of Irish writers who wanted to be James Joyce. Either that, or all Irish writers think alike. (Irish-Irish, not Anglo-Irish, who are another kettle of fish entirely.) Which is to say, you try me, Mr. O'Brien, you try me grately.

Ima Ichiko, Hyakki Yakoushou 28
-- which I shall be working at for a while yet.

Next up?

Mh, well there's the other Ovidia Yu.

I feel in the mood for a thumping great book, so maybe Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell? Or maybe Sei Shonagon with Morris' notes beside me.
Tags: japanese, reading_20, translation

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