Tuesday, April 01, 2014

Review by Barry Sheils: When Adam Opens His Eyes, by Jang Jung-il

Barry Sheils
Swansea University

With that pint in hand, apparently a Guinness, Dr. Sheils looks to be a man after my own heart! (That's a biblical idiom for "having a lot in common," not something else you might perversely imagine.)

Anyway, I want to call attention to his remarks on Jang Jung-il's novella When Adam Opens His Eyes in quite an insightful review despite the book being outside of his specialized field, though sufficiently fitting to his understanding, nonetheless, for he offers the following praise about the translation that Sun-Ae and I did, in that the voice chosen by us apparently rendered the novel's complex significance well:
If this [complexity] sounds hard-going, be assured, it is not; the translators' English is simple, almost to the point of flatness, reflecting the dry, self-defeating aspect of the narrator's character, and even the most jargon-filled passages about information culture or the condition of contemporary art pass quickly in ironically digestible chunks.
At least, I think Sheils was praising our choice of authorial tone, namely, simple and matter-of-fact. Anyway, these words and many more by Sheils -- on the novel, I mean -- appear in the November 17th issue (2013) of The Literateur. Sheils seems to have understood this 'kitschy' novel at great depth! I use this adjectival form of "kitsch" advisedly, for Sheils himself employs the term "kitsch" as a compliment in Jang's case, as an instance of the dry, ironic stance assumed by the author toward his material.

Or ought I say "narrator"? Anyway, I have some experience in the dry and ironic style . . .

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