RaveJewish Currents...two dozen strange mosaics ... Every story in Wild Milk is sharply surreal, yet some cut more deeply than others ... The surrealism of Mark\'s stories originates as much in the language as in the strange structures and fantastical, folkloric source material. Throughout Wild Milk, language is flexible, wriggling, and alive ... One might even call them whimsical, but whimsy implies something one doesn’t need to think too hard about. Whimsy suggests innocence, and these stories are too knowing, too winking for innocence. Mark’s stories want to fool you into thinking they are cute...all so they can sweep the rug out from under you at the last second.
Bram Stoker & Valdimar Ásmundsson, Trans. by Hans De Roos
MixedFull StopSo the question becomes: how is this book to be judged? As primary text? As translation? Whose translation? Valdimar’s, or de Roos’s? As fiction? On its own merits, or borrowed ones, or by comparison? Judged as a work of fiction, Powers of Darkness is not good. This is largely due to the choices made by Valdimar Ásmundsson in expanding Jonathan Harker’s journal into roughly two-thirds of the novel while drastically minimizing what English readers recognize as the main body of Stoker’s work ... The boneless quality of Powers of Darkness is also, unfortunately, partly due to de Roos’s otherwise laudable efforts at maintaining the artistry of Valdimar’s initial translation. The Icelandic tradition of alliteration and its subtler cousin consonance do not translate well into English. Yet it is in its failures that Powers of Darkness is most interesting: this project exposes the risks of translating works from literary traditions markedly different from most Anglophone ones ... This translation is a commendable and worthwhile effort that will likely only be of interest to Stoker scholars, a very few obsessive fans of Dracula, and those of us who find the work of translation absolutely fascinating.