Sunday, January 15, 2017

Audiobook and French publisher for Yiddish for Pirates!

I'm very excited that Yiddish for Pirates is going to be an audiobook. The actor Peter Berkrot is recording it for Audible. I've had several great email exchanges with him, including discussing exactly how to pronounce certain words and just "how Jewish" the parrot narrator should sound. He's very thoughtful, funny, smart and does fantastic voices. I've been listening to lots of his other work over on the site. I'm delighted that he was the person chosen to voice the book.

Another piece of exciting news is that French rights (i.e. Quebec and France) to the novel has been sold to Les Éditions du Boréal. I can't wait to see what a translator does with the book, though I joke that they only have to translate half of it, since the rest is already in Yiddish. Translation, especially with books that is so embedded in the specifics of a language is such an interesting thing.


Anonymous said...

> Dear Mr Barwin
> Our common friend Peter Rosenbaum, who is also a mensh from Hamilton, gave me your novel Yiddish for Pirates as a birthday present - I must say that I only know outstandingly good people from Hamilton. A blessing!
> I enjoyed your novel from the front cover to the end and once again.
> My very first thought when I saw the cover was about Isidore Haiblum's The Tsaddik of the Seven Wonders and Steve Sheinkin's Adventures of Rabbi Harvey. But yours is obviously much more complex than these, a gemstone cut in a particular literary form with numerous facets so as to have exceptional brilliance - as many layers than the Gemara, more wit than Levinas, modern spryness akin to Sholem Aleichem's, culture, humour, wordplay, audacity, clairvoyance, poetry, vocabulary (Tintin au Congo taught me about psittacosis before my medical studies did), faux-semblants: thank you for all the seemingly gratuitous winks all the way through inviting the reader's participation and overinterpretation in your elaboration and elucubration.
> I didn't know of Jewish pirates (only of posh Jews in the Jewish Savannah in Surinam - do you know that the head of the vanishing Jewish community in Surinam is a great-gtreat-etc.-grand daughter of Don Isaac Abrabanel? And a lovely yiddishe mame/balabuste she is) but yours remind me of Jewish brigands in the forest of medieval Germany teaching yiddish to their accomplices. Reading 'talismen' from your pen makes any talis-wearing man a talisman on his own accord. Linking Voltaire's 'Nu, let us hodeveh cultivate our gortn' in the end (well did we notice that Candide was explicitly there in the epigraph bereshit?) with shir hashirim spirit was one of many literary flowers with powerful fragrance. Indeed, libi bamizrach veanochi besof maarav. I loved your beautiful macaronic integration of yiddish, and other languages. I found many qualities in your work and projected myself so much in what I read that I also spotted the narcissistic reflection of some of my own quirks.
> In sum, thank you for sharing this. Thank you for making this proxy-intimacy possible.
> I wonder if you read French. If you do, I wonder if you would like to read my novels 'Le livre de Joseph' (which will be published in Polish in April) and 'Le garçon du Rwanda'. If you think you would, I'd be happy to send them to you either electronically or by post. Efshar maybe you too might find pleasurable and interesting resonance. In any case, a groysn dank, shkoyekh and a gutn woch, reb Barwin, you great soyfer.
> With best wishes
> Bernard Dan

Anonymous said...

Dear Mr Barwin

You may or may not have received my previous message.

If you have, you may have guessed that when identifying Shalom Aleichem as a progenitor to your brilliance, I also recognised the verve of (Miguel) Cervantes. Obvious evidence for these facts is provided by scholarly analysis of your surname. Hebrew reading it back to front gives 'niw rab', which as you must know is pseudo-Afrikaans for 'new rabbi'. In addition, commutative permutation of beys and vov in Barwin results in 'war bin', a clear indication to the Great Spanish Armada. Shah 'leichem and Mitch Cervesa may shvitz as proud pro-parents, as they deservedly did about your literary brother Isaac Babel, but this casts no shadow whatsoever on the uniqueness of your talent, as the ladino song 'Que supiense y entendiense' clarifies: dos Moshe y Aaron, uno es il criador, barukh hu barukh shemo - two are Moishe and Aaron but one is their creator, may he be blessed and may his name be blessed. There is no denying that this confirms you as a baal shem. Do I seem to overlook Homeros in your literary ancestry? Or James Joyce?

You may have thought that while commenting on you, I was merely speaking about myself - az men red a sakh red men fun zikh.

You might even have wondered whether my offer about 'Le livre de Joseph' and 'Le garçon du Rwanda' was devoid of any after-thought. Well it jolly was and remains so. In ways of reassurance, both were published by the most reputable Editions de l'Aube, who pride themselves in discovering such excellent authors as Nobel Prize winner Gao Xin Gian or Vaclav Havel (they introduced those to French readers) and a florileggio of good French authors, + me for balance. Admittedly, I am not a real author, but a physician, teacher and scientific editor. Still.

If two seem too many, I would advise 'Le garçon du Rwanda' for a start but I am sorry to say it is only available in French.

With best wishes

Bernard Dan
bernard [dot] dan [at] ulb [dot] ac [dot] be

PS just seeing this. Félicitations!!