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Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Books from Around the World

Posted by Allie L.

Take a look at the books you have read and you might realize that some of them were originally published in a different language and translated to English. When I did this and went back to those books, it made me wonder if I could see any differences in writing style, techniques, characters, or plot twists from what we would normally expect out of an English book. While I did find some subtle differences in the layout of the narrative and the way the author presents the story, there were very few things that I could point to and say “That’s what shows this is a foreign title.” In a way, this is good; we as readers are being shown different styles and cultures often without realizing it.

So, don’t think that by picking up a translated title you are going to get something completely strange and unreadable. The books listed below are good representations of different types of translated works ranging from current Japanese translations to a classic Italian.

            This book was recommended to me and should be to everyone who loves a good mystery. The story takes twists and turns that still leave me scratching my head. As a murder mystery that gives nothing away until the very last page, Confessions is hard to put down once picked up.

            Add this novel to your reading list if you haven’t already. It has the ability to tell a story from both a surface level and more in-depth. Multiple generations of characters with the same name might get confusing at times, but this only adds to the ambiguity of the story and causes you to think more deeply about the storylines presented.

Hopscotch – Julio Cortazar (Spanish)
            Cortazar’s novel is not for light reading; this is for someone who enjoys a challenge. There are two ways to read this book: sections one and two, leaving out section three, or the way the author prefers, by bouncing around chapters in every section. For example, the story starts with chapter 72 and then you read chapter 1, then chapter 50, then chapter 2, and so on. Don’t let this deter you, though. It seems confusing at times, but the story is wholly interesting and thought provoking.

            I was hesitant to read this at first, as anything by Dante always appears slightly daunting. Once I started, though, I realized why he was held in such high regard. His language is beautifully translated and the story is terrifying, inspiring, and lovely all at once. He makes you feel as if you were actually traveling through the levels of Hell, Purgatory, and Paradise with him searching for his beloved Beatrice.

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