The Great Storyteller Chapter 339
Chapter 339 Violinists Impressive Hearing 1
Translated by: ShawnSuh
Edited by: SootyOwl
“I’m not sure,” Juho said, looking into the distance.
Springing up from his seat, the student abroad, with his face twisted into a scowl, said, “I think I’d prefer you say that I still have a ways go rather than some ambiguous answer like that. What did you mean by you’re not sure?”
“Maybe I shouldn’t have said anything,” the sister said light-heartedly.
However, the student abroad didn’t let up. Having no intention of starting an argument in front of delicious food, Juho explained himself calmly, “I’m not sure because I don’t really know you yet.”
“You don’t know me?”
“I haven’t read your book yet. That’s why you gave me one as a gift, isn’t it?”
Although the student abroad still looked quite upset, he sat back down willingly. At that, Juho shrugged and added, “Besides, I’ve been busy too. Not to mention the environment I was living in never really alloted me a whole lot of freedom. There are actually a lot of books I haven’t been able to read.”
Which included the one written by the student abroad. Still sounding disgruntled, the student abroad asked, “Then, what about now? You’re staying on the downlow. I can’t imagine you’re all that busy.”
“Of course, your presentation was outstanding. I assume that’s why it got made into a book, right?”
Then, Juho looked around at the student abroad’s family to study their expressions. Sitting quietly, the student abroad still had the same disgruntled look.
“Good for you, kid. You know what? Let’s make a toast. Pick up your glasses!”
Thankfully, the subject changed quickly. Everyone there were quite tactful. At one point, a neighbor’s dog came into the backyard after smelling the meat, causing a ruckus. Although the amount of food had been quite intimidating at first, every bit of it had been eaten without much trouble. The family seemed to have quite the appetite. By sunset, they started cleaning up after themselves. As the sister and her husband went inside, Juho picked up the plates. At that moment, the student abroad approached him and asked quietly, “All right, can you just be honest and tell me?”
“Tell you what?” Juho asked, giving him a puzzled look.
“Now that my family isn’t around, you don’t have to worry about making me look bad in front of them.”
“I told you. It was outstanding. Did you want a number or something?”
“Judging others is one of the easiest things to do, don’t you think? Don’t be such a prude now. You’re Yun Woo! If this is about your age, don’t you worry. I won’t go around telling people that you’re full of yourself.”
“What’s with you all of a sudden?”
After some thought, the student abroad replied in a calm tone of voice, “It’s not sudden. A pretender like me tends to be curious about how a genius sees the world, including himself.”
“I don’t consider myself better than others.”
“I think that’s being too modest.”
“Are you looking for criticism? Is that what this is about?”
“Have you ever compared yourself with me?” Stopping midway while picking up the plates, Juho looked at the student abroad, who asked, “Or do you not have an answer to this question?”
“Was that why you were so riled up back there?” Juho asked, making sense of why the student abroad hadn’t contacted him first. Before he knew it, Juho had acknowledged that the difference between an author who sold one million copies and another who sold five thousand copies had to do with their skills.
“You really are an overthinker.”
“It’s because you showed up out of nowhere. You have no idea how anxious I’ve been the last two years. I wrote with everything I had and I’ve managed to sell five thousand copies. And then, you show up and put that number to shame. It’s just demoralizing.”
Unfazed, Juho, who kept stacking the plates, said, “You really know how to keep someone on their toes.”
That time, the student abroad’s came to a halt.
“What’s that supposed to mean?”
“You’re good with long sentences, aren’t you? And you’re still relatively young, which only goes to show how talented you are as a writer. You have a very exotic, sophisticated style of writing, which I don’t have. So, when you tell me that you poured everything into your book, how can I not look forward to reading it?”
At that, the student abroad’s head lowered slightly.
“I know it sounds funny coming from me, but don’t obsess over how many copies you sell. It’s a waste of your talent,” Juho said. Then, locking eyes with him, he added, “If your book hadn’t even been on my mind, I wouldn’t have bothered coming all the way here.”
At that moment, as the young author went inside the house, a dog started barking outside. It seemed to be barking at a certain person, who happened to be laughing. Coming out of the kitchen, the sister yelled, “What the hell’s happening outside? Hey! Pipe down!”
However, the dog barked even louder. Meanwhile, Juho soaked the dishes in the water in the sink.
“You could stay for the night, you know.”
“Oh, no. I couldn’t do that. I’m grateful that I’m even getting a ride,” Juho said in front of the car, in which the student abroad was sitting in the driver’s seat.
“Come again sometime,” the sister said, reluctant to say goodbye.
Watching the young author getting into the car, the student abroad said, “Let me know when you discover the release date.”
“The release date? For what?” the sister asked, puzzled. Then, the car started shaking as the student abroad started it.
“I have a new book coming out,” Juho said nonchalantly.
“A new book? Which one?”
Grabbing the car door, the young author replied, “‘Language of God.'”
At that moment, just as he was about to close the door, a foot jumped out and prevented him from doing so. At which point, Juho was forced to tell her the exact same thing he had told the student abroad.
“Is that what brought you to the States? Did you have a secret meeting with your publisher or something?”
“Something like that,” Juho said, remembering the actual reason for why he had come to the States for. “I have to talk to someone about translating my new book.”
At that, the sister looked around cautiously and said, “We won’t tell anybody.”
Then, the student abroad started the car again.
“All right, Mr. Sanders. Thanks for your time.”
“Thanks for coming,” Sanders said to an employee from a certain publisher, who had visited the translator in order to retrieve the requested project. Although it had been long past due, the delay had been the result of an unforeseen circumstance on the publisher’s end, which led them to send someone to visit the translator at his home in order to apologize in person. Chugging the remaining tea in his cup, the employee rose from his seat and said, “Seems like there’s something good happening in your life, Mr. Sanders.”
Also rising from his seat, Sanders asked, “Why do you ask?”
“You look like you’re in good spirits,” the employee said, seeing the persistent smile on the translator’s face. Although Sanders had always been a kind person, he was especially generous that day, and it was especially apparent with all the high-end cookies, the tea set, and the black tea that he had offered his guest.
“Do I now?” Sanders asked, caressing his beard. In actuality, he had been itching to tell the world about the good news he had come across. “I’m expecting a guest.”
“A guest? Who?”
“I’m afraid I can’t say,” the translator said. Although an ambiguous look appeared on the employee’s face, it did hardly anything to affect the translator’s mood.
“Haha! Well, that definitely doesn’t happen every day. But really, who’s visiting?” the employee asked.
“How was the tea?”
“The tea? It was delicate as always.”
“Right? I only bring it out on special occasions.”
“Well, I don’t know who you’re expecting, but I am privileged to have tasted such fine tea.”
“I guess it’s your lucky day.”
Chuckling quietly, the employee asked, “Are you expecting somebody like Yun Woo?”
At that, Sanders let out a hearty laughter, just like Santa Claus would.
“Hello, there! Been a while.”
Juho arrived at Sanders’ office in a timely manner. Upon going upstairs, the translator opened the door and greeted the young author before he even had a chance to knock. Sanders’ office was brimming with all sorts of information. Meanwhile, looking intently at Juho’s short hairdo, Sanders tried to get used to the young author’s look.
“Do you like black tea?”
“I got some tea as a gift recently. It’s exquisite. Give me one moment,” Sanders said, walking over to the kitchen, which was connected to the office, in order to boil some water and prepare the tea. He seemed to be quite adept at what he was doing, which told the young author that he was an avid tea drinker. While the translator was preparing the tea, Juho looked around the interior of the office, which gave off a warm feel. Then, as he noticed a peculiar tree, Sanders said, “Bengal rubber tree. It’s from India.”
Although it was an exotic-sounding name, the tree itself looked quite familiar to Juho.
“They’re quite popular in Korea too, actually.”
“They’re very low maintenance.”
Resistant to cold, the tree required hardly any watering. On top of that, it came with the added benefit of purifying the air around it, which made it even more desirable in modern society. Its branches were strong and its leaves, glossy. It seemed well taken care of.
“You must like plants.”
“Yes. They make me feel at home.”
“Feel at home?”
“I used to live with my grandmother as a child. Raising plants was a big part of her life, so naturally, I grew up around a lot of plants.”
Then, Sanders brought the tea out, which was in tea set made by a famous manufacturer. Meanwhile, Juho pictured what the translator’s grandmother would have looked like surrounded by plants while drinking tea peacefully.
“The environment one grows up in has a profound impact in their life. Language being one of those things, of course.”
It was quite an interesting thought.
“Which is why I find your books so enticing,” Sanders added, raising his tea mug. ‘Language of God’ was filled with characters whose values were shaped by the things they grew up seeing, which they came to accept and reject.
“It’s kind of like Oedipus, don’t you think? Resisting his destiny.”
“You seem to know enough, Mr. Sanders. I’m not sure if there’s even anything left for me to help you with,” Juho replied, chuckling quietly.
“The thing is translating your work comes with serious challenges,” Sanders said, caressing his beard again. In order to minimize mistranslations, Sanders had asked for quite a bit of additional information. When the translator had suggested the young author visit him, Juho had replied affirmatively without hesitation.
Looking at Juho, who had traveled a long way from home, the translator shared his thoughts on the young author’s manuscript, “After reading it, degeneration was the first word that came to mind. But, that isn’t to say that that has to do with the setting being in the past.”
As Juho listened to him quietly, Sanders placed his hands on his chest and added, “I also thought that I couldn’t dare let my translation ruin such a well-written piece.”
“Please, feel free to do as you please, Mr. Sanders.”
“No, no. I wouldn’t dare. Aside from my pride as a translator, I’d be facing the wrath of the public,” the translator said, shaking as though terrified by the thought of that happening. Everything about ‘Language of God’ was grand and massive. Should Sanders decide to make a move, the reaction would be as equally as great.
“The written languages were astounding,” the translator said, chuckling quietly, his eyes sparkling with interest. By that point, Juho had already handed all the data, which included translations, of those languages to Sanders.
“It’s a bit messy this time, isn’t it?” Sanders asked.
“It’s supposed to be.”
Being far less refined than their future counterparts, not only were the written languages uncouth, but they were also quite cumbersome. Languages tended to rise and fade away with time, and the new languages Juho had come up with were bound to face the same destiny.
“Did your time in the military play into this at all?”
“I wouldn’t say that it didn’t.”
At that, Sanders replied, nodding, “The fact that it’s a piece that you wrote at the base already makes it riveting.”
“You know, my editor said the exact same thing.”
The phrase practically advertised itself. When Juho had met with Jang Mi prior to flying to the States, she hadn’t been afraid to show her excitement.
“So, these are some of the questions I had,” Sanders said, taking a stack of papers from a table. They were handwritten notes.
“First of all, this part here,” Sanders said, pointing at a certain place on one of the pages. Juho read along.
“The war from Violinist’s point of view.”
“Right,” Sanders said, nodding with a serious expression on his face. Then, he pointed to another spot and said, “But his thought process is not explained here.”
Juho had left out the protagonist’s thought process intentionally in order to leave room for reader interpretation. However, things changed if the reader happened to be a translator. Sanders had to know the intent with which the author had written certain sentences.
“I just wanted to make sure. What’s the protagonist thinking and feeling here?”
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