The Blue Soda Siphon
Translated by Donal McLaughlin
5 x 8 inches, 112pp. November 2014
ISBN : 9780857422118
Rs 495.00 (HB)
In the wildly entertaining novel The Blue Soda Siphon, the narrator unexpectedly finds himself back in the world of his childhood: Switzerland in the 1940s. He returns to his childhood home to find his parents frantic because their son is missing. Then, in another switch, the young boy that he was back then turns up in the present of the early 1990s, during the Gulf War, where he meets himself as an older man, and meets his adult self’s young daughter. These head-scratching, hilarious time shifts happen when both the adult narrator and his childhood self go to the cinema and see films, the subjects of which echo their own lives.
Translated into English for the first time by Donal McLaughlin, this novel, in which the eponymous blue soda siphon bottle is a recurring symbol, is a magnificent example of Urs Widmer’s characteristic humor, literary genius, and unparalleled imagination.
Urs Widmer (1938 – 2014) was a Swiss novelist, playwright, essayist and a short story writer. He was the co-founder of Verlag der Autoren, an author-owned publishing house focusing on texts related to the performing arts. His other works published by Seagull Books include My Mother’s Lover, In the Congo, The Blue Soda Siphon, My Father’s Book, On Life, Death and This and That and That of the Rest and Mr Adamson.
Donal McLaughlin is author of An Allergic Reaction to national Anthems and Other Stories (2009) and has specialized in translating Swiss fiction. Known for the stage version of The Reader (with Chris Dilan, 2000) and Shards (2003), the bilingual edition of the poems of Stella Rotenberg, he has also translated Widmer's My Mother's Lover (2001), My Father's Book (2012, nominated for the Best Translated Book Award 2012) and On Life, Death, and This and That of the Rest (2013), all available from Seagull Books.