Category Archives: Reading in translation

Les Misérables and Les Mystères de Paris: a comparison

When raving about ‘The Mysteries of Paris‘ last week, it was clear there was an elephant in the room, because when you describe thousand plus page novels using characters to explore social issues in 19th century Paris, no-one thinks you’re … Continue reading

Posted in Eugène Sue, Reading in translation, Victor Hugo | Tagged , , , | 4 Comments

Addictively Silly: The Mysteries of Paris by Eugène Sue (1842-43)

The Mysteries of Paris begins in the dank alleyways of the Parisian underworld.  A mysterious stranger ‘darted with hasty step into the Cité, that labyrinth of obscure, narrow, and winding streets which extends from the Palais de Justice to Notre … Continue reading

Posted in Eugène Sue, Reading in translation | Tagged , , | 8 Comments

Isolated and Hidden Away: ‘The Drinker’ by Hans Fallada

A couple of years ago I read the wonderful ‘Blood Brothers‘ by Ernst Haffner, a book which explores the desperate underbelly of interwar Germany.  ‘Blood Brothers’ shows the reader life at the bottom of a society on the edge of … Continue reading

Posted in Hans Fallada, Reading in translation | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

Developing a relationship: ‘Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay’

In general, when I find an author or series that I like, I race through it uncontrollably.  It’s this kind of attitude that has lead to my uneviable position of never being able to read a new Christie Poirot or … Continue reading

Posted in Elena Ferrante, Italian Literature, Reading in translation | Tagged , , | 4 Comments

A Fin de Siècle Fantasy: ‘Psyche’ by Louis Couperus

“My gentle Psyche!” Said he.  “My child and my wife and my tender princess! Kneel not to me.  In love it is sweet to give and to suffer.  Love gives, and love suffers” Oh, there’s nothing like a good, overblown, … Continue reading

Posted in Louis Couperus, Reading in translation | Tagged , , , | 7 Comments

Secrets and surprises: ‘The Key’ by Jun’ichirō Tanizaki

From Adrian Mole to Zamyatin’s ‘We’, from ‘The Yellow Wallpaper’ to Bridget Jones, very few things beat a good diary entry novel.  And if a single diary wasn’t powerful enough, the run-away success of Flynn’s ‘Gone Girl’ shows how much … Continue reading

Posted in Japanese Literature, Jun'ichirō Tanizaki, Reading in translation | Tagged , , , | 4 Comments

Frightening and Powerful: ‘Fever Dream’ by Samanta Schweblin

If it wasn’t for the fact that I want this review to sit alongside its fellows on the Man Booker International shortlist, I would be holding off until Halloween.  From witchcraft to pollution, from deserted hospitals to unexpected personality shifts … Continue reading

Posted in Man Booker International Prize 2017, Reading in translation, Samanta Schweblin | Tagged , , | 5 Comments