I read translations very rarely. I’ve never been satisfied with the books I have read, so have always been disappointed with the ones I have picked up.
I only completed Papillion by Henri Charrière because it was a book club reading, and I hated every minute of it. I know other people who adore it….
The Antiquarian by Gustavo Faveron Patriau – couldn’t finish it in the end. It had a good premise, but got bogged down in paragraphs, even sentences that lasted more than a page. I could appreciate the words being used, but it was just so tiring reading it.
The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco – another book I thought I’d love, just couldn’t penetrate the language. I never wrote a review for this one. I have no idea whether the film matched the book.
On the other hand – I loved Anna Karenina to the point where I’ve read it several times, and plan to read again. My “problem” with the Russians is not the translation but the cast of thousands, where I can’t keep track of everyone’s multiple names. I’ll have to try War and Peace again, whenever I work out how to track the cast.
I’ve enjoyed reading books such as The Tattoo Murder Case by Akimitsu Takagi, “Out” by Natsuo Kirino, both of which are Japanese. I read quite a few books set in India and the far east, but actually don’t know if they are written in English or not!
Since I originally wrote this post, I have also read – and enjoyed – The Winemaker Detective books which have been written in French and read in English (so well done Le French Book as the publishers and their translators!). I have also read a few of the Inspector Montalbano books, which have been translated from the Sicilian (an apparently difficult version of Italian that’s notorious to understand the nuances, even by the Italians)
I think it boils down to the way the book is written and with how it’s translated. The three books above are very meandering, with The Antiquarian going for page long paragraphs with nary a full stop to be seen. I get bored quickly, I can’t tolerate having to go well over a page before finding out where I can take a metaphorical breath. Some people love this kind of narration – I don’t.
So what about you, dear reader – Do you read books in translation? Tell me about three that you have read? What are the last 3 books in translation you read?