Riding da Riddim: The Culcha Dancehall Clash II, by Maurie Alioff   > read more...


Thursday 24 April 2014

Miley Cyrus’s eyebrow-raising “twerking” is a bland white-bread facsimile of what happens all over Jamaica, every night, when the selectors program hot songs the deejays rap, and partiers dance until dawn, their moves as stylized as flamenco, not to mention crossing over into acrobatics and contortionism.


Rising dancehall queen Tifa at the Montreal Reggae Fest

Riding da Riddim: The Culcha Dancehall Clash I, by Maurie Alioff   > read more...


Thursday 24 April 2014

Reggae music linked up to the anti-colonial, back-to Africa, enlightenment-seeking Rastafari movement that originated in the 1930’s. It became the only widely popular recent music to transmit religious and political beliefs, and many other outgoing messages. Jah-struck roots reggae (or “culture,” pronounced “culcha”) works like gospel music.

Like a Beast, by Joy Sorman, Part II, translation by Lara Vergnaud   > read more...


Wednesday 9 April 2014


Joy Sorman 
[Photo: C. Hélie. All rights reserved.]

Part I of this translation can be found on this site here.
The original French text of Part II can be found here on Salon .ll.

Like a Beast, by Joy Sorman, Part I, translation by Lara Vergnaud   > read more...


Saturday 5 April 2014

Joy Sorman
[Photo: C. Hélie. All rights reserved.]

Literary translation is a seemingly impossible task – which explains why it is so fascinating. The English-language side of the literary magazine Salon .ll. is the go-to place for discussions which make translation possible. On its French side, Salon .ll. offers an excerpt from Comme une bête (Gallimard, 2012), a novel by the French writer Joy Sorman, side-by-side with an as yet unpublished English-language translation of the same text by Lara Vergnaud. The United States does not have the reputation of a country that translates a lot. Even so, literature likes to scoff at borders and there is no lack of readers, in the United States and elsewhere, when it comes to indulging oneself in the pleasure of discovery combined with the more intellectual exercise of comparison. It is to this subtle dialogue of languages that we now invite you.   

Marie-Andrée Lamontagne
Translated by Ellen Sowchek

Like a Beast tells the story of a young man, Pim, who loves animals. He loves them so much that he learns to butcher them. Perfectly. The author’s meticulous research helps carry the reader deep into the realm of its subject.

Pim is not the cerebral type; he is pragmatic and down-to-earth, ready to leave school and earn a living.  He knows he loves animals and wants them to be an important part of his life, so he becomes an apprentice at the butchery training center at Ploufragan in Brittany. It turns out that he is gifted in his chosen field. Butchery is hard and often difficult work, but Pim is a perfectionist; he enters his profession as a novice joins a religious order. He becomes increasingly passionate about his work, perhaps too passionate. Pim is not the only one who knows he is a different sort of butcher, that he is an artist of the flesh. Women notice that he can mold emotion and sculpt passion with his bare hands, and he soon gains a following not just with meat lovers.

Like a Beast shows us what the meat trade is really like, taking us, along with Pim, from livestock on the hoof in the stall to the slaughterhouse, and finally to packaging ready for purchase. It is a vibrant homage to handicraft, a poetic and metaphysical fable on the relationship between humans and animals, as well as a glimpse into a little known and rough, but fascinating life.

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