an English translation of the novel

Page 212-213

“Don’t you want to go outside instead? The weather’s so nice.”

“Oh, sure.”

We turned right in the hallway and went out into the schoolyard. The weather was indeed nice, but there was a chill in the air. Ryou wrapped his arms around himself for warmth. No doubt he was thinking that I was some crazy woman who didn’t know what winter was.

“I’m going to nominate you as my duty partner,” he said, cutting right to the chase.

“Thanks.”

I wasn’t quite sure what to say, so I used the safest reply.

“That’s it?” Ryou sounded disappointed.

“What do you mean?”

“What are you going to do? Are you going to nominate me?” he pressed.

“I…”

This winter, everyone in Sage Academy would be broken up into pairs to serve on duty. In theory everyone would be in male-female pairs, but we didn’t have the same number of each gender, so there would also be teams of three as well as pairs of the same gender.

On the surface, our duties encompassed only day-to-day and event preparations, but for some reason, a pair could only be formed if boy and girl chose each other. So in our minds, this was a nothing other than blatant declaration of love.

During that time,  it was an undeniable reality that the school controlled all our romantic relationships. That was what 「番」 represented. The usual definition was just to perform various tasks, but dictionary says that it also means ‘couple’. Given that the Ethics Committee and Board of Education seemed to be obsessed with word meanings, this idea probably wasn’t too farfetched. 1

“Sorry. I haven’t decided yet.”

Since Ryou had been so straightforward with me, I did the same.

“Do you have someone else in mind?” he asked worriedly.

1 番 can mean ‘turn’, ‘pair’, or ‘couple’, depending on the context. So 当番 can mean ‘to be your turn (to do something)’ aka “duty”, or ‘to be a pair/couple’ (although this isn’t a normal reading, as far as I know).

3 Responses to Page 212-213

  1. Nathan Saugstad says:

    Thank you so much for translating the novel, I will be worshiping your efforts everlasting when you have finished Part VI. Shin Sekai Yori is such an amazing story, so ingenious that I will be using it to answer 95% of the AP Literature and Composition tests’ Open-ended Questions which asks me to choose a “Book of Literary Merit” to provide examples to answer the essay prompts. If you haven’t finished translating by May 8, 2015, I guess I’ll use the Anime as the primary reference as to how the story ends. It’s the perfect novel for the AP Lit. test; It is a “bildungsroman, or coming-of-age novel” 2013 (a whole lot, if not all of the novel applies to this), It is a “novel in which cultural, physical, or geographical surroundings shape psychological or moral traits in a character” 2012 (like I said before, a whole lot applies), It has a event in which “a character responds in some significant way to justice or injustice 2011 (Squealer’s uprising), etc. In the other words, Shin Sekai Yori’s super-extensive and duct-tape-like solution to everything is a goldmine waiting to be milked on next year’s or any year’s AP Literature and Composition test. I honestly haven’t read your translations yet, even though I have downloaded them, I’ll comment again when I am caught up on your translation and see how much the novel deepens or maybe even varies from the Anime adaptation.

 
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