Kalima translates German novel 'Perlensamt' into Arabic
ABU DHABI – Kalima, the translation initiative of the Abu Dhabi Authority for Culture and Heritage (ADACH), has published the Arabic version of the award-winning German novel "Perlensamt", written by the author Barbara Bongartz.
The novel's plot revolves around the figure of Martin Saunders, who works as an art historian, and meets, by chance, in Berlin with David Perlensamt, who is described as an eccentric character but whose nature is presented as attractive and unique. Several days after their first encounter, a murder takes place at Perlensamt's apartment. During the same period, a painting by Corbett is presented at the branch of the Nobel auctions in Berlin – but Saunders had seen that particular painting before, at Perlensamt's apartment.
During the book, the reader will be given insight into people's passion for locks and doors, whilst generating a strange sense of spying on something invisible. The plot progresses as a person carrying keys passes from room to room, opening and closing doors and cupboards. This character is employed by the author as a tool to reveal different aspects of the story. The Character is seen raising the curtains, after covering up the traces of crime, encouraging the reader to explore the motivations behind their behaviour. The narrative style, employed throughout the book, is typical of many German detective novels, but some aspects may be new to Arab readers.
Barbara Bongartz was born in 1957 in Cologne of Germany. She studied theatre, film and television, and then later studied German literature and philosophy in Paris, Munich and Cologne. She received her PhD degree in 1992 and worked as a film director from 1982 until 1988. Bongartz taught at the Institute of Theatre, Film and Television in Berlin from 1990 to 1996. Since 1996, she has been travelling between Dusseldorf and New York, working as a free-lance writer. She is a member of the Federation of German writers, and has won several awards and grants, most recently the Leselenzstipendium Hausach in Germany.
The novel was translated by Palestinian Mahmoud Abdel Nabi, who was born in Bethlehem in 1959. He began his school education in Jerusalem, but fled after the war in 1967, and moved with his family to Jordan, where he finished his secondary education in Amman. Since 1979, he has been living in Germany, where he has studied and worked in the field of translation.