08 December 2008

Question Place 4

New month and I'm here, so here's a new spot for questions (plus comments and suggestions).

I'll put one out myself, on a non-climate issue (fortunately, your questions needn't be on climate either).  I've been thinking a bit about my reading, and noticing that almost all of it was originally written in English.  That's ok, as there's more good stuff written first in English than I can hope to read.  Still, there's some awfully good writing from other modern languages.  So, I'll welcome suggestions for good fiction that you've read which were originally written in other languages (but have decent translations in English).  I've already got fair ideas for French, German, and Russian, and a little for Czech, Italian, and older Chinese and Japanese.  But that leaves a lot of languages untouched.


Anonymous said...

The Cyberiad by Stanislaw Lem. A hilarious collection of short stories about 2 inventors (that happen to be robots), mostly trying to outdo each other in their outlandish pranks and inventions.

quasarpulse said...

Not sure on suggestions of books to read, since you're already quite aware of the classics. I do have one (strong) suggestion of a non-English book *not* to read: L'Etranger/The Stranger by Camus. 300+ pages of sociopathic nihilism, somehow renowned as a great work of French literature.

You might, however, try Le Petit Prince by St. Antoine d'Exupery. It's not just for kids.

I don't know if you'll like him, but I've really enjoyed Jose Maria Arguedas (Peruvian author) - I've got his Los Rios Profundos and Todas Las Sangres, and there's a third one along the same lines, I think something Fiesta. I also like Michel Encinosa Fu (Cuban sci-fi/fantasy) but I'm not sure if he's been translated. There's actually a surprising amount of Cuban science fiction, although a lot of it is unfortunately cyberpunk-ish; what I've been able to read of the more traditional stuff has been pretty good.

Robert Grumbine said...

drj11: Thanks for reminding me. I've been meaning to read that one, and might even have a copy. (My stock of books i haven't read is ... not small, as quasarpulse can attest.) Where was Lem from?

quasarpulse: The problem I run in to is how I remember things. I don't remember in terms of where the author was from. If you mention Camus to me, I recognize that he's French. But if you asked me to name French authors, I'd have a very short list probably not including him. But that's for the warning. I'll also warn you against 'The Good Soldier Svejk' by Jaroslav Hasek (Czech author). Though maybe you and your Czech friend would appreciate it more after your military service.

Thanks for the other names. We definitely have to go with what's available in English translation. It'll be a long time before I can tackle Spanish directly. (Making progress, at the Brothers Grimm level, with German.)

Robert Grumbine said...

(comment not posted): It's entirely possible that I had a bad translation of Svejk. Unfortunately, none of the advertising links you sent provided information about whose translation you were publishing.