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“Dead Time” by Marcel Aymé

This week my translation of Marcel Aymé’s short story, ‘Le Temps mort’, or ‘Dead Time’, was published in Delos Journal Vol. 36 No. 1 (at Florida University). It’s available only to subscribers. The link is here.

This publication of my translation has been a long long time coming, more than three years after my first submission of it. It was accepted by a journal that eventually bailed out and didn’t pay for the translation rights, then a second journal took the story on. But there was more waiting: the French publisher took months to get around to answering emails about rights and costs. But finally it’s out there for everyone to read in English!

The title ‘Dead Time’ is ironic here. Nothing happened for so long that it was dead time for my little translation. However, in the story dead time is much more interesting, because we get to see what happens when a man is non-existent every second day, and what his girlfriend gets up to while he’s absent.

The photo in the header is of Rue Tholozé in Montmartre where Martin lived in a small apartment. And the photo below is of the steps he descended every second day when he existed. There was a newsagent at the bottom of the staircase where he would buy a newspaper to find out what happened the previous day when he didn’t exist…

Hope you enjoy reading the story as much as I enjoyed translating it!

Lamarck-Caulincourt Metro steps, Montmartre, Paris. (Photo credit Madras91, Creative Commons)

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