When the rights to The Spill were first sold in Estonia, my uncle Ants, an Estonian speaker since birth, was very interested to see how the title of the book would be handled. If you were to directly translate the title into Estonian, he told me, its layered meanings would be lost.
Thankfully, my uncle and my father are very pleased with Kokkupõrked, the title that Eesti Raamat have ended up giving my book for its Estonian release late last month.
Google Translate flips Kokkupõrked back into English as ‘collisions’ or ‘crashes’, but, like The Spill in English, there’s much more to this title than first meets the eye. The plural of kokkupõrge, it can also mean impact, conflict, encounter and interference. Kokku by itself means ‘together’, while põrked comes from põrkamine, which is to poke or prod someone. I particularly like this idea of ‘togetherly antagonism’ as it neatly encapsulates the sister relationship at the heart of the book.
Thank you so much to publishers Eesti Raamat, editor Marju Lina, translator Ülle Okas and cover illustrator Ande Kaalep for bringing this Estonian edition into the world. It means so much to me and to the entire Neeme family here in Australia.