marcel barang

News from the writing front

In English on 02/11/2009 at 5:46 pm


I’ve spent a pleasurable weekend going through my English editor’s corrections of Book 1 of Four Reigns, whose 150 000 words represent half of the whole quartet. This much is now ready. I’ll print one copy presently to present to the author’s heirs, hoping for further learned input and … permission to publish.

Book 2 has been for some time with my Thai editor, who has the unenviable but paramount task of checking the translation line by line.

(Both editors unfailingly shame me for my shoddy Thai and lousy English, but that’s the kind of shame I am proud to gratefully suffer: being proved wrong is the only way to get things right next time around.)

Late on Friday night I finished the first draft of Book 3 (some 46 000 words) which I’ll spend the next couple of weeks shaping up into readable prose.

So this will leave the 330-odd pages of Book 4 to go through, presumably before the year is out – and before I tackle in my off-hours Phan Ma Ba (Mad Dogs & Co) in French this time, while attending to business as usual: short stories for the Post and for thaifiction, website, blog and the tiresome public relations that come with the job.

With such a workload, what could I tell Uthis Haemamool when he called the other day to ask whether I would consider translating his SEA Write Award-winning novel Lap Lae – Kaeng Khoi, as Amarin Printing appears interested in publishing an English version of it?

I appreciated his call, especially as he knew I wouldn’t translate the novel without his rewriting or deleting substantial parts of it to make it less wordy and more readable.

I suggested a couple of names of translators who might be willing and able to do the job – with or without my high-handed editorial demand…

This morning, the Bangkok Post’s Outlook section came out with ‘Village aerobics’ by Thatsanawadee (the pen name of Suthas Vongkrabakthaworn) and, without missing a beat, my ‘minder’ there emails right now to inquire about next month’s short story. Never a dull moment.

I’m running out of goodies, meaning first-choice short stories already translated that fit the ‘below four thousand words’ criterion imposed by the Post. Sustained reading has gleaned a few more, yet to be turned into English, but by and large the best short stories exceed that length. Plenty of them, too.

Anyway, tonight, given that Khun Preim is dying at the beginning of Book 3, I’ll go and loi krathong with Mae Phloi.


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