Pedro Lenz - Naw Much of a Talker (4 stars)

Donal McLaughlin's Glaswegian translation of the original Swiss text is raw and poignant

Pedro Lenz - Naw Much of a Talker

(Freight Books)

Inspired by a six-month residency in Glasgow, Swiss writer Pedro Lenz wrote this short, sharp novel in his native language; now it arrives in a remarkable translation into Glaswegian dialect by Donal McLaughlin. As the title ironically implies, it’s all about the voice; and what a voice it is. Our narrator is Goalie, a recovering drug addict, fresh out of prison and keen to settle down, perhaps with that local barmaid he quite fancies. Goalie is a teller of stories because they ‘urnae like crude fuckin oil, where yiv only a certain amount an’ wance they reserves ur gone, yir fuckt… There’s an infinite supply ae them’.

The names and places are Swiss, but this story’s heart clearly belongs to Glasgow, and Lenz taps into the Glaswegian temperament perfectly. Goalie’s interior monologue can switch, in the same sentence, from a cuttingly funny observation to a sombre analysis of the human condition, while his ups and downs give him pause to reflect on life and love in language that is raw and poignant, and positively glows with humanity.

Pedro Lenz and Donal McLaughlin

Pedro Lenz wrote his first novel, Der Goalie bin ig, in a Swiss dialect, and Donal McLaughlin translated it into Glasgow patter under the title Naw Much of a Talker. The two writers speak about the book(s).

Pedro Lenz & Andrej Longo

Inspired by the language of James Kelman and Irvine Welsh, Pedro Lenz’s debut novel, Naw Much of a Talker, is the result of a six-month residency in Glasgow. A veteran of the Swiss spoken word scene, Lenz won the Berne Literature Prize for this book. Meanwhile Andrej Longo is a rising star of Italian literature, and his…

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