The Towpath

An English translation of Camí de sirga was published in 1994. Here is the excerpt that illustrates today’s Word of the Day, matxo.

“Good evening,” he replied to the figure standing barely a metre away from him, next to the bulky coffin. His memory sought in vain to identify the vaguely familiar voice, which must belong to a man of the river.
   “We knew you were sailing upstream, although we didn’t expect you till later. You’ve sailed fast, but you needn’t knock yourselves out to get there; as far as we know the bastard they’re going to stash away in here,” – he kicked the coffin where it lay under the sacking, – “hasn’t given up the ghost yet. We shan’t bother you for long, we just want to get over to the other bank. You can leave the mule here, it’s not worth taking it on board.”
   The guerrilla went back to the rest. They had a rapid conversation but all he could hear was whispering.
   “We’re ready, Nelson,” the one who’d talked to him said.
   “You stay with the mule, Alexandre. And the rest of you, ready to row!”

Jesús Moncada, The Towpath, translated from the Catalan by Judith Willis, pp. 179-180, ISBN 0002712849 (Harvill)

Best wishes from Edinburgh,

Stephen Telfer

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