Monday, November 5, 2012

The Dogs of Riga by Henning Mankell, Translated by Laurie Thompson, New York Press

This is a two star book.

It is always difficult to assign responsibility when you review a translated book. Did the author say that? Or did the translator miss say it?

Here is a an example of the writing from The Dogs of Riga. “He (Wallander) continued walking around and around the boat (a life raft), occasionally exchanging a few words with Martinsson. After half an hour he decided that there was nothing more for him to discover.”

Did Wallander really walk around the life raft for half an hour? It sounds like a lot of circling to me. Was that the author's intent? Did the translator miss something. Ultimately the line editor and publisher are responsible for that content. Here is a link to more whining about the current state of publishing: http://georgewparkertalking.blogspot.com/2012/03/who-is-dorfmans-neighbor.html

This is the most egregious example but the story is filled with jumps, lapses and repetitions – Which police colonel is the villain, Putnis or Murniers? That must have been asked twenty times.

I picked this book up because of the BBC production of the story. The TV series is a testament to good screenwriting and the acting of Kenneth Branagh.

George Parker

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