Today’s exquisite translation is an excerpt from the novel Swedish by the accomplished novelist Gábor Schein, translated from the Hungarian by Ottilie Mulzet. Swedish narrates the story of an orphan, Ervin, given up for adoption by his fanatically Communist mother after the defeat of the Hungarian uprising by Soviet forces in 1956, and later consigned to a psychiatric ward. In this excerpt from Chapter Two, ‘I’m Flying in the Airspace of the Room’, one of the wards is described, offering a rare glimpse into the psychic conditions of the final decades of communist rule.
For her translation of Swedish, Ottilie Mulzet received an America PEN Heim Translation Grant in 2019. We hope you’ll enjoy this excerpt as much as we did. Let us know what you think, using #TranslationMonth.
Happy National Translation Month and happy reading!
—Claudia Serea and Loren Kleinman