With Deer

August 10, 2010

posted by Caroline Picard

What follows is an excerpt from “With Deer,” a book by Aase Berg, translated by Johannes Goransson; published by Black Ocean Press.

I came across this book at Open Books in Seattle. It’s rife with organs and blackness and ghoulish, exquisite terror. Like walking through a metal, psychedelic landscape with the back of your neck chilled and perplexing. I couldn’t put it down. This version also includes the original Swedish which is nice, as a constant reminder of the practice and processes of translation. I included an excerpt below, along with a sketch.

In The Guinea Pig Cave

There lay the guinea pigs. There lay the guinea pigs and they waited with blood around their mouths like my sister. There lay the guinea pigs and they smelled bad in the cave. There lay my sister and she swelled and ached and throbbed. There lay the guinea pigs and they ached all over and their legs stuck straight up like beetles and they looked depraved and were blue under their eyes as from months of debauchery. My sister puked calmly and indifferently: it ran slowly out of her slack mouth without her moving a single nerve. And the cave was warm as teats and full of autumn leaves and beneath the soil lay the arm of a mannequin. There lay the guinea pigs and ached and were made of dough. There lay the guinea pigs beside the knives that would slice them up like loaves. And my sister with lips of blueberries, soil and mush. In the distance, the siren bleated inhumanly. That is where the guinea pigs lay and waited with blood around their mouths and contorted bodies. They waited. And I was tired in my whole stomach from meat dough and guinea pig loaf and I knew that they would take revenge on me.