A star translation

Beware button mushrooms in the woods. Especially if out of season.

I haven’t exactly taken up translating books, but Son has to do ‘practise runs’ with all manner of written stuff. And then he runs them past me. He calls it proof reading.

So, very recently he had to do the beginning of John Ajvide Lindqvist‘s Little Star, and I read it. The beginning, not the whole book. I thought it looked good. Excellent start to a novel, catching your attention. Except then I stopped and thought, and reasoned that even if it was quite exciting that the fake button mushroom turned out to be a baby buried alive, this was a book written by the man who gave the world Let The Right One In.

There was no way I was going to hang on to see what happened to the mushroom further into the story. Although I did look on amazon and I can’t say the synopsis filled me with a warm and happy glow.

On the other hand, I got a little more background, so some of the weirdness I’d encountered was explained. The man singing about ten thousand red roses. I mean, that’s not strange to me. I have it on iTunes. But I’m not sure how much sense it makes to the English language reader. If you need to know who the other singer referred to is? Footnote time, perhaps.

The singing character will wish he’d left the button mushroom right where he found it. Stick to chanterelle sandwiches. Button mushrooms can so easily not be what they seem. Deadly.

Anyway, who is he to say he can sing about roses better than the great Christer Sjögren? Stick to chanterelle sandwiches. Maybe it has no bearing on the story, whether you know the song, or the singer. But a very little something will be lost in translation.

With hindsight I’m fairly sure the type of mushroom is not important, either. Except if you need to visualise what this singing star is seeing, a button mushroom might be what you know best. (Son went for another term for the mushroom, which I think was wrong. Botanically it could be more correct, but for the novel reading public who can’t tell a toadstool from a chanterelle – except you really should – it won’t be helpful.)

I’m certain many of you Nordic book lovers will thoroughly enjoy Little Star. I’ll go for the mushroom sandwich. And maybe the roses.

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One response to “A star translation

  1. There’s a good review of the book (in translation) here: http://www.swedishbookreview.com/show-review.php?i=267

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