That Made Ache/Translator, Trader

May 26, 2009 at 5:08 pm Leave a comment

ayout 1 This is a tremendously satisfying read, which I highly recommend for anyone who’s read anything in translation, from Tolstoy to Murakami to Houellebecq and thought,  “I wonder if this is what the author really meant?”

Francoise Sagan, who rose to fame in the late 50s when she wrote her debut novel Bonjour Tristesse at the age of 18,  is the author of this lesser-known novel, La Chamade. The translator of this edition is none other than physicist Douglas Hofstadter, who wrote the Pulitzer Prize-winning Gödel, Escher, Bach: an Eternal Golden Braid (which I admit I’ve never read).

If  you flip the book over, you get another cover and an essay by Hofstadter called Translator, Trader in which he details many of the parts of the book that he laboured over. Well, he laboured over the whole thing, having written it out entirely in longhand to translate it, but there are key phrases and dialogue to which he devoted special care, and it’s fascinating, even if you don’t always agree with his choices.

Published by Basic Books

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Entry filed under: Basic Books.

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