Friday, February 5, 2010

mutual destruction

The new issue of the excellent US journal FENCE Magazine (here>>) contains, amongst a wealth of other good stuff, my translation of Dorthe Nors' eerily suggestive story Gensidig aflivning from her critically acclaimed collection Kantslag [Karate Chop]. The English title is Mutual Destruction and it starts like this:

He whistles his dog to him, puts a collar on it and pulls it a short way back from the edge of the wood so they’re not stuck out like a sore thumb. It’s late in the day and there’s a big fallow field between him and Morten, so he can remain standing here. Morten is going about the farmyard with the red bitch at his heels. It’s lean and rough-haired, and he’s always only ever had Dachshunds. Small, aggressive animals that chew the lead and the floor mats in the car, and Henrik doesn’t like small dogs. But when they go hunting foxes, Morten takes his Dachshund, and when they go shooting by the fjord, Henrik takes his Small Munsterlander and the decoys. Many’s the time they’ve sat in the caravan on the Gardener’s land down in the bog, drinking weak coffee from plastic cups to the smell of wet dog and talking about how practically things divided up, Henrik having a big dog for the one thing and Morten having Dachshunds for the other. But now Morten’s going about the farmyard down there alone. A single light is shining from the kitchen window. He must have forgotten to switch it off, and the dog reaches only to his bootlegs. It looks like he’s trying to fix some part of the door in the gable end. There’s a lot needs fixing now. There’s a lot needs to sink in.

[excerpt copyright Dorthe Nors]

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