Extract from Michael Mitchell's translation

Karen Duve's The Prepper Room

My daughter's a few metres behind us. Binya-Bathsheba's in a huff. Actually that's where she is most of the time. She's not particularly pretty anyway, her face is rather round, and then this permanent sulky pout—she's sulking for the second time already today. The first time she stopped speaking to me when I took the pROJEktas away from her and Racke and locked them up, which meant that the pair of them would have to spend a whole afternoon without their 3D friends. I could perhaps have put up with Racke's Destroyer, it's the slightly tamer version for kids between 7 and 10. That means the projection is only 1.50 metres tall, a robot with a crocodile's head, a loincloth that looks ancient Egyptian and a gigantic hammer, that keeps on rasping, “I want to be your friend,” or suggests, “Let's make a rumpus.” If Racke, speaking slowly and clearly, says,“Yes, let's make a rumpus,” which amounts to permission to start, then the tin lizard stomps over to the nearest item in the house and thumps it with the hammer and the pROJEkta loudspeaker emits remarkably realistic noises, as if it wasn't a projection but a real sledgehammer causing real damage—a sharp clinking for glass, a softer sound for china, crashing and splintering for the coffee table. For the Destroyer you need nerves as strong as a ship's rigging but at least it cured Racke of his mumbling. The commands have to be given with exaggerated clarity. What really drove me mad was Binya-Bahtsheba's lisping unicorn, that was all the colours of the rainbow. It's about the size of a pony with twenty-centimetre-long eyelashes and it would lounge around on my couch, fluttering its eyelids and had something to say about everything because the language unit in its pROJEkta is programmed to respond to particular key words. “I am Shangri-la, the last living unicorn,” it would coo in its telephone-sex voice. “Come with me to the woods, where the butterflies sing, and become part of the whole.” Or, “Life is a river, build a boat so you don't get wet.”