Re-creators of the Magic

I was halfway through Haruki Murakami’s South of the Border, West of the Sun when a thought suddenly struck me. Murakami is a master storyteller and I have been awestruck by the scale of how he imagines great patterns in simple lives. His first person narrative is haunting. It feels all too real. But this is not what struck me in this particular moment.

It was his Translator with a capital T.

South of the Border, West of the Sun is translated by Philip Gabriel.

I have been reading translated works for a long time, but surprisingly the idea never struck me before. Some people choose to live as translators, in the shadows of the author so that we may be able to relive the magic of stories that would otherwise have rarely reached us.

And I’d always thought that it is the author’s book. It is, it definitely is. But may be it is not just the author’s book anymore. It is not just Murakami’s words anymore. It also belongs to Gabriel, whose translation takes me as close as possible to what Murakami intended.

To the re-creators of the magic.

The World in Books

In books can we travel to places that would have never existed.

Tolkien’s Middle Earth, GRRM’s Westeros, JK Rowling’s Hogwarts, CS Lewis’s Narnia. So many more that we have not read, so many others that are still locked into our minds.

In books can we take down science and travel to the past, the future or to the mythology of the distant.

Ved Vyas’s Mahabharat, Plato’s Allegories, Confucius’s words. Mysterious science experiments. The fancy and yet elusive lightsabers, flying cars.

Twisting forces whenever and wherever it may please the author, the creator.

In books can we try to triumph over the dis-balance of economies in the world.

Though we might never travel to the South or the East or the West because there happens to be something called the power of currencies which is so less for so many of us out here, and yet through books can we see the land so different from ours.

In books can we collapse space and time.

The stories of the Hubble Telescope, the discoveries about the Universe, Heroes who conquered the North Pole. The snow of Sagarmatha (Everest) and the waters of Antarctica.

In books can we embrace the ideologies of the great.

Gandhi. Mother Teresa. Newton. Einstein. Heller Keller. Stephen Hawking. Faraday.

In books can we discover ourselves.


Image from restoreharmony.com