9 June 2018
Göran R Buckhorn writes:
In November 2017, HTBS’s Hélène Rémond wrote about a book which had been published in France in 2016, Fausses Pelles by Benoît Decock. The book has 26 short stories about rowing. Hélène wrote:
The 26 short stories are flooded with depth and humour and set the pace of the book. They show the writer’s skills for cadence and clever metaphors. Of course, they echo situations every rower has gone through, but it also carries away the reader, who might not be accustomed to rowing, towards a poetic and meditative or competitive world – all the more so, as the very few but necessary technical terms are made explicit at the bottom of the pages.
In 1992, Decock took a silver medal in the eights at the 23-Under World Championships and became French champion in the coxed four in 2001. Fausses pelles is his first book and has a strong autobiographical character. The book was nominated for the prestigious French literary prize Prix Goncourt de la Nouvelle.
Hélène also mentioned that Fausses pelles could become a classic ‘like H. M. van den Brink’s novel On the Water’. She hoped that the book would be published in English, whereas a Dutch translation was already in the works.
Now, seven months later, the book is out in a Dutch translation, Snoeken Slaan!
The book has been translated by Koos Termorshuizen, chief editor of the Dutch rowing magazine Roei!. Koos writes in an e-mail to HTBS, ‘Initially, I wanted the book to be translated by professional translators. However, after reviewing the text, they refused because of the large amount of rowing slang.’ Koos decided to translate the book himself.
‘As I do speak some French,’ Koos writes, ‘I thought I’ll do it myself with a little help from two of my friends from the Roei!-team and from a Dutch lady with French-Swiss roots.’ Koos visited Benoît Decock a month ago, so the readers of Roie! can look forward to Koos’s interview with the author, which will appear in the magazine soon.
‘I think it is a very nice book. The stories are very familiar to rowers, and even non-rowers will like it. I hope it will be a success in the Netherlands. Maybe then an English translation will follow?’ Koos writes.
Let us hope!
Snoeken Slaan is €15,95 and can be ordered here.