Saturday, September 6, 2008

Peter H. Olesen / three short excerpts from 'Korrekturlæseren' [The Proofreader], Gyldendal, 2008



Peter H. Olesen

from the novel Korrekturlæseren [The Proofreader], published by Gyldendal (2008)

I am a pedant. An important quality in a proofreader. Cantankerous. I find other people’s errors and descend on them. I thrive on it. I take pride in identifying and correcting mistakes. I have a fondness for the red marker breaking the sacred black type. I have an eye for inconsequence and irregularity. As the good proofreader must. Fussy, small-minded, incorruptible. I am a sadist, says my ex. Son of an accountant.

*

We’re both adults, after all, I say to my ex in an attempt to sound reasonable and reconciliatory amid yet another heated argument over the phone.
And that’s coming from you, she yells. From you!

*

I’ve stopped brushing my teeth entirely. Not by decision, it just happened gradually. What harm could it do missing just the once, I must have thought one late evening, tired and exhausted, and then I suppose it just went from there.
Other banal, though by no means insignificant signs: Unwashed dishes all over the place. Laundry piling up.
One final example: I’m now having problems with composite words. It’s a deeply shameful discovery. The lady at the publishers has made me aware. It seems I’ve overlooked a number of errors in the last couple of jobs. Had I been Japanese with a sword within reach, humiliation would have been short.
As long as you’re still smiling.

Translated from the Danish by Martin Aitken

© Peter H. Olesen and Gyldendal 2008
Translation © Martin Aitken 2008

1 comment:

Martin Aitken [zookeeper] said...

These three pieces are excerpted fairly randomly from a longer selection done at the author's request. Together with Gyldendal, we may figure out what to do with it soon. It's an excellent novel, well-reviewed and well deserving of an wider audience!

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