Translating a Novel of Sadism

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The translator of Alain Robbe-Grillet’s brutal “A Sentimental Novel” tells Elisabeth Zerofsky:

"As far as the book itself and the material, a few times I had to walk away and return in a steelier frame of mind to take up a particularly hair-raising passage. … At best, you might compare the book’s effect on me to its effect on any reader: certain images—many, in fact—remain in you, and surge forth unbidden, superimposing themselves in your mind’s eye on perfectly anodyne and serene scenes of everyday life."

Illustration by Julianna Brion

Maybe we won’t have to wait until the last river has been poisoned, the last acre of fertile ground has been paved over, and the last forest has been converted into a shopping mall, to learn that we can’t eat money.
Maybe the day is not that far off when we will honour those who excel at giving, not those who excel at getting. Perhaps it won’t be long before we recognize and appreciate the many courageous people who work day in and day out, not just to make the biggest buck, but to make the world a better place.
Maybe the work so many people are doing to create a thriving and sustainable way of life for all might actually be taking root- even in some of the most unlikely places.
—  The new good life, John Robbins
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