marcel barang

Taking stock

In English on 17/12/2009 at 8:18 pm


Let’s see. Fourteen days to go to year’s death. Where do I stand now, work-wise?

> Four Reigns: Book One is with Kukrit Pramoj’s daughter and son, has been for over a month, to decide whether they override their father’s interdiction to me to translate it or not – which is a bit ludicrous anyway, since I’ll translate it to completion come what may. If they don’t agree, my employer, Sondhi Limthongkul, will have to wait until the copyright on it expires. I’m in no hurry: I’ve long decided there are things I must do and posterity will vindicate me sooner or later. Except that, being human, I’d rather it be sooner (here, place a guileless grin).

Books Two and Three are stuck in the busy schedule of my Thai editor, who is scaling mountains on a whim. I’ll burn a candle she doesn’t heart-attack in the attempt.

Book Four: Round One should be over in about a week. Round Two (shaping it up into decent English) will probably run over into the New Year, but by not much. But then there will be English editing and my very own Round Three – light work surely completed, I guess, before my Thai yearly visa comes due for renewal on March 5 for the thirty-second time (not counting the years when it came in usually three instalments per year).

> Thutiyawiseit: this long-translated novel is, as of two days ago, at the mercy of the Bunluea Fund for approval to publish. It is good that, after my ten months’ wait, they have made their presence known. Perusing over five hundred pages and palavering over them should take them some time. If Santa Claus is kind to me this year, their answer will be positive. If not, see above.

> Bangkok Post Outlook output: an elegant and timely solution has been found for January: they will go for ‘The Reward’, a 70s moving story by Chart Korbjitti. Sorry, Manoat Phromsing and everyone else in the pipeline, you’ll have to wait your turn. When I have put Mother Phloi to rest, I’ll delve again into the treasure trove of the Thai short story and churn up enough translations to last the Post a year or so, and probably start my own collection under the thaifiction label.

> Chart Korbjitti: the proofs of Carrion Floating By and An Ordinary Story (and others less so) I have okayed. The covers are still a problem, though. I really hated the ones sent to me yesterday for checking and comment, to the point that I spent – wasted? – two to three hours offering alternative versions for Chart’s consideration. In any case, the books should be out shortly.

> Gavroche: that’s my récréation: subediting in French, once a month, page by page, just to keep my hand in, mother tongue wise (how dirty does this sound?). Copy keeps coming up by dribs and drabs, and sprucing it makes me feel good. Editor Philippe Plénacoste, using my services for free yet aware of my ascetic habits, has stopped inviting me to scrumptious lunches, to my relief.

> The quietest school in the world: that’s over and done with. When Fa Phoonvoralak asked me to go through his English ‘summary’ of his two-tome novel to see whether he could decently have it run for the next Man Asian Prize (or whatever it is those glib carpetbaggers in Hong Kong call themselves), ‘and forget the Thai version’, I was rather taken aback by the butchery committed in the name of impatience and lust for fame, but, having patched the lame horse best I could and warned him it was far too bony to canter, I was impressed when he forked out the fee I had quoted without demur, so that when less than a couple of weeks later he asked me to have another go at a padded version, again ‘for a fee, please’, I felt like being generous and toiled twice as hard over that copy I sent back with a pithy ‘Happy Father’s Day’ (it was the 5th of December) message. I am not into literature for the sake of money. Good luck to you, Nai Fa.

> Earlier, I translated – vite fait sur le gril – three Seksan Prasertkul short stories for the owner of Praphansarn Publishing, who is endeavouring to have foreign publishers interested in Thai writers – a venture I feel should be supported to the utmost. So, I have offered him free use of any or all of the short stories I have already translated, provided their authors also agree, and duly listed them for him. He hasn’t answered and I have yet to check whether I’ve been paid for my service. Nor have I called Ai Sek to find out whether he is happy with my translations.

> Of course, there is the translation, into French this time around, of Chart Korjitti’s Phan Ma Ba, which I started translating into English in 1998 and later completed for  Chart to publish as Mad Dogs & Co in 2002 under his Howling Books imprint. That’s next year’s concern, anyway, to enliven the wee hours.

> But, hey, this reminds me: what of that ‘Cheese’ short story Chart promised me for ‘end of month’ in October (see ‘Une histoire de fromages’ on the French side of this blog). Isn’t it mid-December now? I know, because he sent them to me, that he has penned at least two pages of it, and I’ve told him I don’t want to be called Bruno in it. Since then I’ve settled for Marc or Ma’k as the Thai has it (the plain variety, not with the high tone of the current prime minister’s nickname, thanks), but he doesn’t know this yet. Anyway, Marc or Bruno, with his hands now repaired (some tendon trouble for which he had to be operated on, I understand), he’d better get a move on and keep his word.

  1. I have purchased 2 ebooks on your website, but once I paid I did not receive any link for download!!!

  2. Thank you for alerting me. The two ebooks have just been sent. Let me know by email if one or both failed to reach you.

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