Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Lost in translation

Today's book: "The Shadow of the Wind" by Carlos Ruiz Zafon. I purchased this book on a high recommendation some weeks ago and am about ready to throw it into a nearby picturesque fountain. (Pasadena is full of good candidates!) It is about 450 pages long and I am on about page 175, so perhaps it will redeem itself. But first of all, it's about How Great Books Are and is full of pious passages about how awful it is that so many people watch TV. There is an entire chapter about a beautiful fountain pen. Second and much worse, it appears to be a shitty translation. The characters say things that nobody would say, such as "I am speechless," and English idioms are regularly misused. "She asked me to read her the book, and while I was at it, to begin at the beginning." What do you mean, "while I was at it"?

Perhaps I am emotionally fragile right now, but I have had it will this book. I'm about to go see if the library has any Wodehouse. I'll keep you posted.

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