This playful, genre-bending cahier tells the story of pale, anxious
creative writing student Kasper Olwagen and his strange encounter
with the phenomenon of translation in the person of the Swan
Whisperer. Through brilliantly imagined letters and recordings, van
Niekerk recounts Olwagen's discovery of a vagrant who, without
uttering any even remotely intelligible words, summons swans from
Amsterdam's canals. Through the story of Olwagen's experience, van
Niekerk probes the relationship between language and experience,
writing and translation, stories and truth. A story of doubles,
cadence, and, yes, swan whispering, The Swan Whisperer delves into
the playfulness of sound in the Afrikaans language and the
necessity for listening in all translation.
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