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Next up, a slightly more exotic one:
“Yeruldelgger“, by Ian Manook. Written in French (by a French travel writer), this story features a Mongolian police commissaire called Yeruldelgger. Whilst he is investigating a grizzle murder in the capital city, Ulaanbaatar, he is called away to investigate a strange discovery, a strange object buried on the Mongolian steppe. Why has he been ordered away? Is someone trying to distract him? Gradually, we learn more about Yeruldelgger’s own patchy past, a broken marriage, a lost child, his relationships with his shady former father-in-law and with his own colleagues. This book has a strong story line, a magnificent sense of place, an introduction to Mongolian life, to a society going through massive change, and excellent characterisation. It is quite a long read, at 480ish pages, so ideal for those long winter evenings when the pubs close early. So far, the book is not available in English, so we’ll need to read it in French. And it is the first of a trilogy (the other two books are on my “to be read” pile!).
Full disclosure: I’ve translated a few pages of this book into English as a sample, and been trying to pitch it to UK book publishers – so far, without any luck, but I’ll keep on trying!
In the meantime, here’s a small sample from my English:
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You don’t simply enter a yurt that is not your own. You stop a few paces away from the door, and call out. Tradition dictates that you should mention dogs. You don’t shout “Hello?”, because the people in the yurt have known for a long time that somebody is coming. And you don’t say “Is there anyone there?” because the person approaching the yurt already knows full well that there is someone inside. Often, prudence or some primeval instinct leads us to call “Hold on to your dogs!” or “Have your dogs been fed well?”
Yeruldelgger burst into Solongo’s yurt without warning, like a bull in a china shop. He flung the door open, almost smashing it off its hinges and rushed inside, knocking over a stool.
“Where is she?” he yelled.