This is refers to a specific novel and I am not going to name it. Truth be told, by page 15 the actual prose element clocked in at about two thirds of those 15 pages. I won’t name the novel as I don’t want to put people off trying out the author concerned, and the book. But I do wish to bring my issue to the attention of British publishers delivering translated works into the UK market and, perhaps, encourage a debate amongst readers.
The book in question has a Nordic setting and is written by a Nordic author. Though the English translation was not produced by an American, it is Americanised. Words end in ‘–ize’, we have ‘ass’ not ‘arse’ and ‘pissed at’ over ‘pissed off with’. As such, I felt I was reading a novel set in the US and not in a Nordic country. Put simply, the book had lost its original setting. I could have been in the Bronx.
I have form on this, noting a remarkable change when Yrsa Sigurðardóttir’s third novel Ashes to Dust was published in the UK, with a new, third and American translator. I may have risked offending some American cousins at the time, but I felt the translator had lost important aspects of the author’s voice brought so clearly to the fore in Bernard Scudder’s translation of her first, Last Rituals.
Does anyone have any thoughts on this?