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Showing Rating details. More filters. Sort order. View 1 comment. And then? What then? I am no longer certain what I have come to look for here. The silver glow of the night becomes shrouded, the greyish landscape grows dim before my eyes, and I no longer know where I am. Speak to me if you are near, here where I lie alone in the night, unable to sleep, trapped with my bewildered thoughts and memories at the end of my life; speak to me, you who know more than I do, and explain to me what I cannot And then? Speak to me if you are near, here where I lie alone in the night, unable to sleep, trapped with my bewildered thoughts and memories at the end of my life; speak to me, you who know more than I do, and explain to me what I cannot understand.

You can but follow the track blindly where it stretches before your feet, unable to choose the direction in which you want to go. The narrator of this story is an old woman who is lying on her death bed and trying to remember the story of her life which involves growing up in a remote part of South Africa on a farm. Her life is sad, lonely and pathetic.

As a child she is neglected and forgotten by just about everyone in her family, including her mother. She never marries and spends her entire life alone and living with family members who oftentimes forget that she even exists. The narrative is very slow-moving but descripti The narrator of this story is an old woman who is lying on her death bed and trying to remember the story of her life which involves growing up in a remote part of South Africa on a farm.

The narrative is very slow-moving but descriptive. This old woman describes her parents, her siblings and the servants who all lived together in a crowded house on their farm. Her mother had a volatile temper and never showed any true affection towards her. Her father displayed more love for her but his life on the farm kept him very busy. Her brothers, Pieter and Jakob, have a sibling rivalry that becomes deadly when they both fall in love with the same woman. Many of the details in the book are vague because the old woman is trying to piece together her memories as her life is slipping away.

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As a marginalized member of the family she is never told even the most basic details of their life so she can only put together bits and pieces of her past. No one takes notice of her, no one addresses her, no one acknowledges her place in the family. Since she never marries, the narrator is dependent on her family for her entire life, being passed down from one generation to the next like some sort of family relic or heirloom. When her parents die she lives with her nephew and his wife who seem to barely tolerate her presence in their home.

But she is able to avoid marriage and attachment to a man for her entire life. We are left with a sense of ambiguity as to whether or not her life is any better or worse than the other married women in the novel. One should not expect high drama with this novel; it is a disjointed reflection of a long life with much suffering and little joy.

Hierdie lewe (Stemme, #2)

Lyrical and languorous, it wends its way through this slow-paced novel. The narrator, an old woman on her death bed, lies awake in the black of the night and searches for truth and meaning in her memories. In this way the book comes to be both a reflection on the fickleness of memory and a history of the Afrikaans people, chronicling a way of life that was rapidly changing even at the time the novel is set, in the second half of the 19th century. At first, the book sucked me in. I was getting ready to write a rave review.

But by about half way through the appeal of the slow pacing and long involved sentences had worn off. The story which Sussie tells should by rights have been a harsh one, filled with poverty, racism and family secrets hushed and ignored, so that the introverted girl watching has to piece things together on her own. Instead, I found that the languid pacing and the poetry of the sentences blunted the impact of the events that took place.

When hardship was described, it was with a veneer of beauty over the top. There was no sense of suffering. When tragedy struck, I was too little invested in the characters to find it emotionally true. Some of this is no doubt deliberate. Sussie feels little affection for her family and so it is hard for the reader to find any. But when the narrator is continually self-deprecating and has so little personality of her own, it creates a barrier between reader and novel, at least for me.

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The descriptions of the South African veld are beautiful, and there is no doubt that the story is exceptionally well researched and paints a picture of a world and a lifestyle which is now lost and often little remembered in South African history. The Afrikaans farmers lived a tough and fascinating existence in what was for them frontier country, reminiscent of the American West.

But this novel is also devoid of a political context. Race is almost completely absent from the story, no doubt because it probably entirely accurately would have been a self-evident thing to a woman growing up in that time. Still, it jarred with me that the book would paint such a nostalgic picture of Afrikaner history and scarcely acknowledge that it was made possible by slavery and ingrained racism which would, just forty years after the novel ended, be formalized in apartheid.

By the end of the novel I was in two minds; unmoved by the fate of the characters and yet longing for a trip home, to stand in the veld under a magnificent South African sky. The writing flows and is sort of somber. But I can sort of imagine my paternal grandmother speaking these words and the sound would not be as depressing as the story. This Life is an excellent, slow-moving narrative about the quiet life of a silent woman and the end of an Afrikaner family. I took this one slowly, breaking midway through to read the new David Graeber, and while I don't typically do that usually when I put a book down to pick up another it stays down , I returned determined to finish, if only because it's so short.

And wow damn I'm really glad I did. There is so much I love about this novel. Its rhythm is near tectonic. Some things never change, though. On the day of the wedding, a collective gasp is heard when the bride enters the church. The mother of the bride thinks how beautiful her daughter looks while the father tries to figure out what it is about the dress that made it so expensive. While the minister reads from 1 Corinthians 13, you can see features softening as an ambience of romance descends upon everyone.

Mom and dad move closer to each other, your aunt and her ex-husband exchange a secret glance, and — just for a moment — the neighbours' red-haired son looks almost attractive. There is always an aunt who starts sobbing uncontrollably and a father who holds the pew in front of him in a white-knuckled grip in an attempt to keep his emotions in check.

As with the wedding of the dear departed Lady Di, most weddings have an entourage that includes various nieces and cousins related by marriage — all in the same unflattering chiffon frocks. The real fun starts at the reception. The ooms older gentlemen get rid of their suit jackets and ties, the children shed shoes and socks, and the tannies older ladies seek shade against the afternoon sun whilst fanning themselves with the church pamphlets. The aroma of braaivleis barbecued meat fills the air, the tables groan under the weight of an abundance of homemade dishes, and the lights of the cash bar flicker from early on.

The guests are thoroughly spoilt with hearty, home-cooked food: meat, potatoes, salads and puddings. Name it, and it's as good as served: leg of pork, mutton roast, copper-penny salad, curried beans, malva pudding and quince preserve. There was even a wedding where sheeps' heads were served. Coetzee uses the English equivalents available in the lexicon and does not invent new equivalents. Whereas the names of the birds are very poetic in the source text, the equivalents in the target language sound more neutral and scientific.

Another aspect of the text is the old-fashioned archaic Afrikaans used by the author and for which the translator has to find equivalents. The semantic elements taken into consideration follows below. Use of archaic Afrikaans words Suffel p. The translator has opted for Standard English equivalents in the case of most of the archaic Afrikaans word in the source text.

The poetic language of the mother text is negated in favour of the more formalised, patriarchal language of the Father and is an insightful example of the way in which the language of the chora is silenced in the symbolic. The speaking subject of the translated text, in this case, is definitely not the speaking subject of the source text. Her association with the language of the chora has been silenced and reinscribed in a new, formalised manner.

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Metaphorical expressions using animal names kewerklein p. Poetic expressions ietsiepietsie p. This occurs where a direct translation of the word in the source text proves not to capture the essence of what the author is trying to convey in her poetic use of words. The female author describes her writing in terms of musicality and singing. She is creating her own form of writing and her own sound system, which are not part of the predominantly androcentric discourse of the patriarchal society.

The equivalent selected by the male translator does not convey the same symbolism. The translator seems to act as representative of a masculine discourse when he describes her writing as consisting of geometrical designs, namely the circle. Coetzee remains close to the structure of the source text but in cases where sentences could sound ungrammatical, he adapts the structure in the target text to read more fluently.

In her discussion of language acquisition, Kristeva points out that syntax and linguistic categories are associated with the symbolic, which is the realm of language usage associated with the so-called Law of the Father. For the subject to become an accepted member of the patriarchal order, she or he has to break with the maternal and start using the language of the patriarchy.

When analysing the syntax structure of both the source text and target text one has to take this into consideration. Baker points out that grammatical structure i. This means that, in translation, grammar often has the effect of a straitjacket, forcing the translator along a certain course which may or may not follow that of the source text as closely as the translator would like it to.

Van ligdag tot laatnag, sloof ons ons vir hom, die speseryhandelaar, af. From sunrise to late at night we toiled for him, the spice merchant. Prominent in the source language sentence is the way in which the author manipulates the syntax. The sentence starts with a clause and the subject of the sentence ons [we] referring to die slawe [the slaves] is only in the middle of the sentence.

The second sentence also begins with an adverbial phrase, followed by the subject of the sentence. This pattern is repeated in the target language but because of the difference in the verb structure in the past tense and to retain the logic of the sentence, there is a difference, woon ons [we lived]. The indication of time in both the source language and target language sentences are placed at the beginning of the sentence for emphasis.

Haan, haan, vlieg op die dak van ons hut se nok en kraai die dag rooi. Cock, cock, fly onto the roof ridge of our hut and crow the day red.

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Hulle magenta trompetterblomme loer sidderend maar skalks van elke vlak van die gasheerboom. Their magenta trumpeter flowers peered tremulously yet archly from every level of the host tree. In these more open plains the clouds floated in the blue independent of each other and came together only at odd times, as if called, to manufacture thunder and lightning and dissolve in rain showers.

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Other than that, the structure is strongly equivalent to the one in Afrikaans. Ponelis points out that the first and last positions in a sentence are important, especially with regard to emphasis. In the source text language STL the emphatic position is allocated to the plants in general, whereas in the target text language TTL the emphasis is on a part of them, namely the stems. He does, however, repeat the same construction as is used in the source text.

No radical deviation occurs in the translation of the sentence structure into English as is evident from the examples discussed above. No masculinist features of language are inserted into the text. A change in the nuanced meaning occurs in the following case. The word voos in the source language has connotations of worn out, lacking vitality and without any value, whereas the equivalent soggy in the target language conveys the opposite: juicy, filled with sap and vitality and wet.

Poems in the prose text Readers encounter two poems in the novel, the first being some sort of mocking song addressed to the cock on the roof and the other addresses water and emphasises its qualities. By comparing the two poems in both the source language and target language the reader will be able to ascertain to what extent Coetzee is able to convey the poetic meaning of the source language in the target language.

The poem about the cock Haan, haan, ons lus jou. One could also suggest that this is partially a literal translation because the structure of the sentence in the source language is closely imitated in the target language. One could also view his translation as an attempt to make up for the loss of the erotic connotations associated with lus. Such an inference opens the text to a new reading of the poem. This is both a poetic and interpretative translation of the original poem in the source language. Again the structure of the source language is imitated but the translator allows himself some freedom when conveying the intended meaning of the poem.

The translation of the poem about water suggests that the translator has managed to imitate the feminine imagery and way of writing of the original source text. Both Stockenstrom and Coetzee use words associated with water as feminine element. There are also references to the hollow uterine qualities of the tree and the use of the particular prepositions reiterates the feminine elements in the texts.

Does he manage the shift between two languages and two cultures? The older, formal type of discourse in the source language is often retained or translated into a more standard and neutral equivalent.


Coetzee constantly keeps the poetic discourse in mind and is very aware of the diction of the prose poem in Afrikaans. The the complicated sentence structures in the source texts are translated as closely as possible as is grammatically possible in English and very seldom is it necessary for him as translator to reword phrases or descriptions. Even the names of plants and trees and animals have equivalents or are translated directly.

Discussing his translation of Dutch literature in particular, Coetzee in Kannemeyer observes that in theory, he prefers staying as close as possible to the source texts when translating and is even willing to sacrifice the fluency of the target language. Yet, as I have shown in my analysis of this translation, there are attempts to undermine the overtly feminine writing of the source text by opting for a more neutral androcentric? In his own later novels he acts as a textual transvestite, who assumes female subject positions in the text, whereas in the case of this translation, it was not necessary to do so.

It is a female-authored text with a female main character. Baker, M. Bassnett-McGuire, S. Allen, London.