Pedro Lenz - Naw Much of a Talker
- Paul Gallagher
- 27 August 2013
Donal McLaughlin's Glaswegian translation of the original Swiss text is raw and poignant
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.