On Translating The Naked Eye
The Naked Eye by Yoko Tawada tells the story of a character trapped between cultures and languages. The unnamed narrator, a girl from Vietnam, travels to East Berlin for an international communist youth conference and winds up getting stuck in Paris. Although she doesn’t speak a word of French, she becomes an avid moviegoer and soon falls in love with Catherine Deneuve, whose films are then interwoven throughout this intriguing story of multiple displacements.
Japanese-born Yoko Tawada has lived in Germany since 1985 and has published a dozen books (stories, novels, poems, plays) in each of the two languages she writes in. The Naked Eye is her first book to have been written simultaneously in German and Japanese. This translation is based on the German version of the novel.