Une interview de Michael Chabon

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Michael Chabon, récent vainqueur du prix Hugo avec son roman The Yiddish Policemen's Union, est en interview dans le magazine Locus. Le site en donne des extraits. J'en parle parce qu'il sera sans doute, on l'espère, prochainement traduit en France.

“I heard Yiddish a lot when I was growing up, though I was kept at arms' length from it by relatives who didn't really want me to know what they were saying most of the time. In the early '90s I found the phrasebook Say It in Yiddish in a bookstore, and I was really mystified and entranced by it. If I wanted to goof off a little, I would just pick it up and page through it.

“All phrasebooks are inherently funny, because they have this kind of absurdist, dadaist quality. Often it's hard to imagine real-life applications for the ready-made phrases that have been chosen for you. Then there's this further element that it was Yiddish, and premised on the idea that you could take this eminently practical book somewhere and use it. And yet there was no clue, on the jacket or in an introduction, where you would take it! Even in Crown Heights Brooklyn, there's no post office staffed entirely by Yiddish speakers where you need to speak Yiddish in order to buy postage stamps. It was so richly detailed in between the lines, it implied an incredibly detailed place. It was almost like the mysterious book in the Borges story that seems to imply an entire universe within its pages -- a magic artifact of a nonexistent place...”

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