Alindarka’s Children (Dzieci Alindarkiis, 2014) is a contemporary novel about a brother and a sister interned in a camp. There, camp leaders make children forget their own language and speak the language of the colonizer. To achieve this, leaders use drugs as well as surgery on the larynx to cure the ‘illness’ of using the Belarusian language. When Alicia and Avi manage to escape, camp leaders pursue them. Now, the children have to survive for themselves in this adventure, which bears a likeness to an adult, literary Hansel and Gretel. The dialogue translates well to the guttural differences between English Received Pronunciation and Scots. Jim Dingley translated the Russian and Belarusian into English and Petra Reid, author of MacSonnetries, translated Belarusian parts into Scots.
‘Kafkaesque with elements of cyberpunk.’
‘You can take this book on many levels, from the philosophical and psychological analysis of what it does to a nation and a people to remove, control and suppress its mother tongue, to an exciting tale of two runaway children in a forest trying to survive on blueberries and avoid the threatening adults along their way.’
‘The seamless transition between Dingley’s Lingo and Reid’s Leid means the tale moves invitingly along, giving here and there a window into Belarus’s turbulent modern history.’
‘What we get is a book that is both a translation and a collage - an independent, multilingual literary work.
It is an ingenious response to the novel’s polyphony, and a tribute to the Scottish language that echoes the tribute Bacharevič pays to the Belarusian tongue’