Translated by Joanna Howard, Nicholas Bredie
In this delightful translation, Frédéric Boyer‘s Cows are both animal and occasion—for thought, sorrow, accusation, nostalgia, and annihilation. With humor at once deadpan and sincere, that which is cow and that which is not-cow provide opportunities for human minds and behaviors to reveal themselves, in pleasurable bursts of brief meditations. I am grateful to Bredie and Howard for bringing this strange, memorable text into English, where it will undoubtedly charm and unsettle many new readers.
The cow is perhaps an unlikely hero(ine), but through a subtle blend of rumination, imagination, and compassion, Frédéric Boyer builds, layer upon layer, a new sense of the cow, even a sensibility of cow, that allows it to become a reference to and a reflection of an ambient and tremendous potential—while also reflecting and referencing equally tremendous human folly and error, asking impossible questions with clear answers that we’re unable to give. Bredie’s and Howard’s translation masterfully captures the subtleties and nuances of Boyer’s fluid language, bringing out not only his images and ideas but also the many layers of insight and emotion that drive them.