Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Bizarre translating adventures

A wonderful review (insofar as I can make it out through the gobblydegook of amazonian babelfish) of The Gift in Germany, from the German site Fantasy News (Phantastik News). Carsten Kuhr (may the Light ever shine on his path) calls The Gift a "rare gem" that stands out among the hyped Tolkien imitators. As he says in amazonian, which is worth quoting for its sheer oddness:

In almost lyrical about nennender shaping describes forests and meadows, marshes and mountains, and in this way creates an atmosphere felt very intensely the reader to draw their world. Additionally, we are drawn interesting people, and to doubt their mission, which is to develop and understandable feelings reveal. It's about betrayal and trust, love and fear, envy and friendship, and not least to loss and grief - deep feelings in a world in which feelings of great importance.

Well, you get the picture. What makes me want to kiss Kuhr, however, is this: he understands that the Pellinor books are epic fantasy in the tradition of Tolkien, with everything that implies: but he also understands that this doesn't mean that they are "derivative". In other words, he reads the book as much for its writing and characterisation, and in particular, for its emotional power, as for its story. And it seems the word is spreading - German fantasy blog Wetterspitze Info goes so far to call the Pellinor books a "great highlight of the coming year".

It sounds, too, as if Michael Krug's translation of The Gift is pretty marvellous. How cool is that? Berlin, here I come...

14 comments:

ingu-x said...

lol. That's fantastic news, Pellinor is taking over the world!!! Muahahaha...

I wonder if it will be translated into other languages too? It should be...

Mallie said...

The translation must keep to your original very well then, because I honestly can't imagine the translation being any better than the originals. And I'm certain it isn't any worse, if the reviewer is talking about them like that!

Methinks my point was - the translation couldn't be nearly good without your original words being unbelievably brilliant.

And I think one of the reasons i love your books so much is that they're in the tradition of epic Tolkein without being as overly descriptive as he was prone to be. Yours is lyrical and beautiful with the right amount of romance and personal struggle and human relationships all thrown in. There's something about how you weave it all together that just makes it.. I honestly think the Pellinor series is my favourite set of proper pure fantasy books. Simply because it pulls all the elements I love so much together.

Whoops, sorry. Didn't mean to ramble on like that. but truly, I'm in awe. And a little bit in love. Especially with Cadvan, to be honest!

Epona said...

I now realise Mallie has stolen my post haha. but i do agree with both her and your reviewer. I love the Pelinor books not just for the plot but for the development, depth and the dynamic relationships of the characters. I love the way you use lyrical and descriptive language to open and pull me into the world of Pelinor. The only way i could describe the way you write is by calling it 'beautiful'.
I have to say with your background in poetry, theatre and of course writing - it is nice to see someone bridge the gap and cross the disciplines, and to have the courage to leave behind a 'comfortable' but unhappy career to follow your dreams!
I am dying a slow death waiting for the singing (alas I'm in Ireland so i have a longer wait) but i know it will be worth it!
*cough* Cadvan haha

Alison Croggon said...

Thanks Mallie. Obviously the translator has done a good job - I confess, I'm very curious to see what he's done with the poetry!

Mallie said...

*laughs* goodness, thats a good point! Poetry like that is difficult to come up with in the first place, but then to translate it? goodness!

Petri said...

Hooray! The translation of Naraudh Lar-Chane is now further translated for more to enjoy =)

Well I haven't been on to check the status of the Pellinor Series in a while because of work and the such but I am so very glad (but saddened) that the final book will be out this year. I'm sure this book will surpass the expectations of all us mere mortals.

Summer said...

Just stopping by to say I read The Crow all in one day. It was fantastic. I was a bit surprised that it only followed Hem's story, but not disappointed. I loved seeing things through Hem's eyes and watching him grow so much. Oh and Saliman is one of my most beloved characters now that I've gotten to know him better.

Alison Croggon said...

Thanks Summer (I think Saliman is fab, myself). Hopefully all will be clear when the last book comes out: it's really just one story, in four books.

eva said...

First of all, I want to say, I enjoyed reading "die Gabe" - it is epic. But two things make me think, the original is (hopefully) better: there are some breaks in the narrating language, mostly classical German and suddenly one sentence in colloquial language. And does Maerad always feel nauseous? I imagine, Michael Krug tanslated every "sick" with nauseous.
Well, the poetry I can`t compare, as I haven`t read the original. But I`m looking forward to reading "the riddle". :-)
I´m sorry for mistakes. Reading english is much easier than writing... ;-)

Lulu said...

ok this may sound a little silly (but give me a break, i m just 12)ok, here goes
I LOVE THE BOOKS OF PELLINOR!!!!!!!!

Seneca said...

Hey everyone!
Lulu, I'm 14 and I still totally agree with you. The Pellinor books are awesome and I love them too!

Yvonne said...

Maybe I'll read the Pellinor books in German and that will count as extra credit for my college German class! And if it didn't count for class it would give me some practice and fun at the same time! yay!

I think the only problem with the series is that they're published so much later in the U.S.! Patience is not my strong point ;-)

Bob said...

My three daughters (twins of 18 and "little one" of 14) eagerly await the last book. We have eaten the first three and I have loved the genre since my mother read me The Hobbit. Thanks to an aunt I then discovered Lord of the Rings and the CS Lewis Ransom trilogy at about 13/14. You seem to me to have successfully combined the sensitivity and characterisation of Ursula le Guin (before she went too inscrutable and Zen on us) with the otherworld language, excitement and plotting of Tolkien. I particularly like the sense of real youngsters growing up and the real life moral background which seems to me to be essential for any fantasy novel. I find that you have addressed a "high seriousness" disguised as entertainment. Truly a "gift" even if it appears a "riddle" but definitely in my book something to "crow" about (sic - pardon me). Seriously though, too often in the past authors have either run out of steam by the middle of the second book or have become far too verbose or their world has become inconsistent. So far you have avoided this which is why we await the last book with such anticipation and trepidation. Thank you and good luck.

Alison Croggon said...

Many thanks, Bob. (That was a mighty pun, by the way). Well, I shall cross my fingers that The Singing meets your expectations and hopes! So far my readers approve, but the true judgements await...