Stuart Kendall works time in a physical way — takes the ancient tablets and breaks them into pages, pages that shatter the ongoing narrative into (instead) confrontative moments. [...] the strikingly handsome Contra Mundum edition [of Gilgamesh] has the feel of picking up a fragment of the cuneiform tablet, miraculously lucid, magically set … the solemn priestly tablets of the “original” … are transformed into communiqués from the field of action: the page, [which is] the field, spacetime itself, your moment. … [This is an] exemplary translation [that] recover[s] the time of listening.
By chopping sentences into lines, staggering them down the page, not letting the sentence rest, Kendall keeps us going, each page a reward and a challenge to go on. It’s wonderfully unsettling [… and] dramatically urgent, starting and stopping like a man in rage, his timeless pauses, his insistence on bringing us at every moment into the hero’s moment.
Kendall can make us feel the baffled stammer of a hero unsure of what to cry out next. His method is frictional, making the reader react tablet by tablet, ever thrown back into the story. Ability to react to stimuli is the universal property of, surest sign of, life. – Robert Kelly, Nomadics
Read the whole review here.