Superfluous Matter
Books - Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel García Márquez and The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets' Nest by Stieg Larsson

The pace of my reading has slowed lately, mostly due to my busy August. I did read two books though, which I'm going to unfairly compare based on their only common feature: both are English translations of the original.

Love in the Time of Cholera is by a Nobel Prize winning author and although I cannot read or speak Spanish I feel like the translation (by Edith Grossman) must have captured the feeling and lyrical quality of the original because it was so very enjoyable to read. The words and sentences flowed in a way that made the book feel like it was written in English by an especially gifted author. The story and characters were fantastic too, although I admit to having personal difficulties with sections discussing the progression of married life. I feel very robbed of all that and some of the more moving parts left me a bit bitter.

The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets' Nest has certainly made a lot more money and maybe been read by more people than Love in the Time of Cholera, but obviously it is not in the same league from a literary point of view. Also, when I read the Stieg Larsson books I find the sentence structure and language a bit rough. I don't speak or read Swedish but I feel like the problems are an artifact of the translation. The translator for Love in the Time of Cholera is quoted as saying "...a translation is not made with tracing paper. It is an act of critical interpretation." I feel like Stieg Larsson's translator didn't subscribe to the same school of thought. Perhaps it is actually a problem with the writing (the source material isn't exactly high literature), but it doesn't feel like it. Despite these issues, the book itself was just as gripping as the previous two in the series and I finished the second half in a marathon reading session one night after climbing.

It's fun to intersperse trashy thrillers with Nobel Prize winners; it makes for interesting comparisons.

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