From LOVE/WAR by Ebba Witt-Brattström, translated by Kate Lambert

He said:

Philanthropy is simply vanity.

Charity is the way

ambitious ladies

keep score.

 

You with your little

gender equality department.

Who cares.

 

He said:

When do you ever think

about anything other than

how injured you are

and how appalling it is

that people don’t think

you’re a great authority.

 

Why should I play a role in your farce

when you won’t play one in mine?

Or do you think yours is less farcical?

How blind can you be?

 

She said:

I am playing a role in your farce

though it’s more of a sordid tragedy.

 

It’s sad that

all you can do is

sneer at me

but that’s fine

I’m used to it.

I’ve done the weekend shop.

Don’t destroy it

please.

 

 

YOU CAN GET A LOT DONE BETWEEN THE TEARS

 

She said:

In The Night of the Tribades

Siri cries

I’m so alone.

Enquist gets it spot on there.

But then the play is from 1975.

 

Women were on the move.

And new men too.

 

He said:

I hate the seventies.

No-one noticed me.

 

He said:

It’s emancipation.

It put ideas in women’s

heads.

 

Feminism is

a fixed set of opinions.

I despise that kind of thing.

 

He said:

Man is superior to woman.

It’s how it’s always been

and how it’s going to stay.

 

Haven’t you got any nails

to bite

or chairs

to hit?

 

She said:

The mechanism in place.

Half the brain switched off.

Your Google translate

takes the things I say.

Prints out

evasive

derisive

dismissive

contemptuous

words.

Nonsense.

 

Are you a human being or a platitude generator?

 

He said:

Watch your step.

I can be a really nasty person.

 

She said:

Think that’s news?

Today my sister

saw the bruises

in the bath.

 

By Ebba Witt-Brattström

Translated by Kate Lambert

LOVE/WAR

Written by Ebba Witt-Brattström

Translated by Kate Lambert

Published by Nordisk Books, 2017


Born in Stockholm to a German father and Estonian mother who had sought refuge in Sweden during the war, Ebba Witt-Brattström has won numerous awards for journalism and criticism. She was Swedish newspaper, Expressen’s, runner up in their ‘Women of the Year 2017’ survey.

Kate Lambert has been a freelance translator for over 20 years, following stints as, amongst other things, an English language teacher at a hydropower station in Arctic Finland. As well as having translated a number of titles from Swedish and Finnish, Kate has made contributions to the Dorothy L Sayers Society and has reviewed various works for the Swedish Book Review. She lives in Somerset.

Photo of Ebba Witt-Brattström by Vogler

Category: Translations

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