Kristian Bang Foss – European Union Prize for Literature

Next month, Kristian Bang Foss will receive his EUPL for Death Drives an Audi, one of the first sample translations I wrote. I’m very excited for Kristian and hope there’s an English publisher out there thinking of taking on this wonderful book!
Here’s a short extract of the English sample as well as a link to the EUPL site with a little information on the author.
http://www.euprizeliterature.eu/author/2013/kristian-bang-foss

From Death Drives an Audi by Kristian Bang Foss
Translated by Paul Russell Garrett

Another expression we were fond of was “plump pillows for side sleepers”. We picked it up in Ikea, on a trip to get Waldemar a new lamp. We discovered it on a completely geniotic diagram in the bedroom department, where, depending on your sleeping position – on your back, stomach, side, etc. – you could find out which size pillow you should be using. We repeated it constantly; it even ousted dreamsweets for a time. When we got tired of just saying, ‘plump pillows for side sleepers,’ and of asking in shops if they had plump pillows for side sleepers, we began to make small variations on the theme, and the conversation would go something like this:
‘Are you going to buy a new pillow soon, Waldemar?’
‘Yep.’
‘How plump is the pillow going to be?’
‘It’s going to be disgustingly plump.’
‘Why?’
‘Because I’m a side sleeper.’

One day, it went so far that we actually petitioned the council to get Waldemar a plumper pillow. Our reasoning was that he had just discovered he was a side sleeper. The case handler wanted to see documentation, so we had Waldemar’s doctor write a declaration that he needed a plump pillow on health grounds. And when the council gave us carte blanche for pillow-buying, we took a trip to Ikea. We agreed that Waldemar should say, ‘My name is Waldemar, I’m a side sleeper and I would like the plumpest pillow you’ve got.’

In front of Ikea, we smoked a joint. Waldemar rolled his wheelchair towards the automatic doors; the glass slid away with a whistle and I stood by his side saying, ‘Do you hear that Waldemar? That’s the door to pillow heaven opening wide.’

On our way to the department with pillows and duvets and all that, we passed through the furniture showroom, where one chair in particular caught our attention. It was called the Jerker and I shouted, ‘Look, they’ve got a chair called the Jerker!’ We both cried with laughter and I had to sit in the chair for a minute to recover. A couple in their late thirties came by; they looked unspeakably self-important and were clearly considering buying a Jerker, so I got up to let them study it in peace.

14. October 2013 by Paul
Categories: Danish, Translation | Comments Off on Kristian Bang Foss – European Union Prize for Literature