Tuesday, September 29, 2015

The Ugly Animals by Simon Watt

This spring, I translated to Bulgarian The Ugly Animals by Simon Watt. I've just written a post about it in my Bulgarian blog (better late than never), and here is the announcement by the Bulgarian publisher. I admit I am proud to read at the Ugly Animal Preservation Society website (the above screenshot) that the book is "available in all good bookshops in the UK, USA and Bulgaria" (emphasis mine).

The cover of the Bulgarian translation shows a Galapagos marine iguana - a charmingly ugly animal that can inspire horror-movie screenwriters. I like it very much, though I still prefer the blobfish on the cover of the original which won the viewers' vote for ugliest animal on the planet (to me, this "ugly" fish is even cute, and I definitely like it and the other animals in the book better than the panda).

The Ugly Animals is devoted to species that are both ugly and more or less endangered. Each animal is presented by a nice large photo occupying as much space as the text. I think this is the correct way to address today's overworked, ever-tired readers - with a lot of beautiful pictures and a carefully controlled dose of text. Nevertheless, there are many things to be learned from this book. It is written with much humor, which I have tried to preserve in the translation but I don't know whether I have succeeded.

To me, it is unfortunate that so many otherwise sensible people create a false dichotomy about what we must preserve, ourselves and our civilization or the living world as we know it. I think that we must preserve both, and I believe that we can.