Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Choose My Own Adventure

Motherfucker!
I just learned that the book I've been reading FOREVER is a shitty translation. I usually breeze through novels at about 200 pages per week. I'm 200 pages into this one, and I've been reading it for months. I just can't get into it, and it's causing a huge log-jam in my reading pile. The story is good, but seems flat. I've been giving a lot of thought to the plot and characters, but never seem to want to read the damn thing.
Well, turns out that the copy I have is a highly redacted soviet-era translation of the novel and there is a much better (unedited) translation out there. No wonder I've been slogging through this bastard. Hell, it usually only takes a week (or so) to get through any Irvine Welsh novel, and half of those fucking things are written phonetically.
So my question is, do I:
a) Keep reading the shit-translation, and finish in time for Christmas
b) Plunk down the $10 for the 'superior' version, and start the whole fucking book over (with no guarantee that the new translation will be any more engaging)
-or-
c) Give up and read that Kundera novel that I've been pushing around for the last year

It's your call. I'm leaving it up to you semi-literate man-apes to choose my best course. I'll probably end up being eaten by a dragon. Dammit.

10 comments:

Lady Di )O( said...

c

Prairie Dawg said...

damn dude. I had the same problem with that one. I didn't know it was known to suck.

Jeanz said...

The set-up sounds interesting; any chance you could sample the better trans. in the library?

In any case - READ KUNDERA.

Steener said...

I'm with jeanz: read Kundera. I'm biased, but read Kundera.

The Unbearable Lightness of Being is fantastic, even though most people think the movie is cheesy (For anyone interested: Daniel Day Lewis is super-hot in it). A good translation from the Czech is available by Michael Henry Heim from Harper, I think.

I love, love, love The Book of Laughter and Forgetting. There is a translation from French by Aaron Asher that is also from Harper.

Sorry. I'm a book geek for a living, what can I say.

The Old Dog said...

Dump it. Move on. You can come back to a better translation after you've cooled off.

bigsoda said...

Can't go wrong with Kundera.

TheStrangeblue said...

Josh, wherever you have a link, the text comes out light gray, as opposed to white for the usual text. It's really hard to see. fyi. And why are you reading pussy-fussy books? Read The Thirteenth Valley by James DelVeccio. It's about a platoon in Vietnam. The movie Platoon was largely influenced by this. Most amazing book I've ever read. If you don't love it, I'll blow you. Honestly, it's incredibly powerful.

Anonymous said...

Hey!
Stumbled onto this from your flickr page, and I have to say this is like the only post out of your hundreds that I actually can say I have any hint of worthwhile opinion on: I have read every friggin translation of this book and found this the best. My wife, for instance, bought me the Glenny translation (what the fuck is that you ask? Exactly.) from the 60's for my b-day. I wrote a 145 page screenplay on the guy for schnicks. Maybe I am retarded, but this is the copy that drew me in. And yeah, it took me about two months to finish, but once I hit it halfway through, it was amazing. "Sympathy for the Devil" was based on this book:

http://www.tinhouse.com/mag/back_issues/archive/issues/issue_6/feature.html

Anyway, in an odd turn of fate, Bulgakov's biggest fan was Stalin, who crushed him like a bug anyway.
Good luck!
Best,
Bryan
flickr.com/photos/campen

PS If you have not gotten to Satan's Ball, please do not give up.

Anonymous said...

Hey!
Stumbled onto this from your flickr page, and I have to say this is like the only post out of your hundreds that I actually can say I have any hint of worthwhile opinion on: I have read every friggin translation of this book and found this the best. My wife, for instance, bought me the Glenny translation (what the fuck is that you ask? Exactly.) from the 60's for my b-day. I wrote a 145 page screenplay on the guy for schnicks. Maybe I am retarded, but this is the copy that drew me in. And yeah, it took me about two months to finish, but once I hit it halfway through, it was amazing. "Sympathy for the Devil" was based on this book:

http://www.tinhouse.com/mag/back_issues/archive/issues/issue_6/feature.html

Anyway, in an odd turn of fate, Bulgakov's biggest fan was Stalin, who crushed him like a bug anyway.
Good luck!
Best,
Bryan
flickr.com/photos/campen

PS If you have not gotten to Satan's Ball, please do not give up.

Anonymous said...

http://www.tinhouse.com/mag/back_issues/archive/issues/issue_6/feature.html

Great article on Ray Manzarek, Mick Jagger and others' obsession with the novel.