Saturday, June 13, 2009

An (inter)view to a kill

Dana King posts an exceedingly generous interview with me on CrimeSpace and on his own One Bite at a Time blog. Many thanks to Dana for asking some good questions.

© Peter Rozovsky 2009

15 Comments:

Blogger Philip said...

Absolutely splendid, Peter. I've not read responses in an interview as ready and reasoned in a long time. Well done you. One thing you allude to I came across a mention of this morning in a place I hardly expected, though a moment's thought made sense of it. The success of the British National Party in the elections to the European Parliament had me looking at Searchlight.com., one site of an organization (not the egg-throwers) devoted to the combatting of fascism and racism. And there was generous space given to a campaign to raise funds to help Eva Gabrielsson pay her legal costs. That's a wretched, nasty bit of business, and this bit of good-heartedness cheered me.

June 13, 2009  
Blogger Uriah Robinson said...

Sweden apparently is operating under old German law, but Eva Gabrielson's plight is a warning to everyone to make a will.
The success of the British National Party is very worrying with over 900,000 people [6%) voting for them, and the cause is the major parties completely failing to address problems that affect the indigenous working class.
PM Gordon Brown was able to "save the world" financial system but has failed to save British jobs.
A very good interview and a recognition of the influence of bloggers in general and Detectives Beyond Borders in particular.

June 13, 2009  
Blogger Dana King said...

Peter,
Thank you for your insightful, thoughtful, and thought-provoking answers. The interview shows why this blog is a must read for so many.

June 13, 2009  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Thanks, Phillip. I know only the vaguest outlines of Stieg Larsson's activities during his life, but it makes sense that an outlet that decires the BNP would support Larsson's partner. I'd read about capaign to support her. I wonder if this is the same one.

June 13, 2009  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Uriah, German law has not always been the most progressive with respect to inheritance. At least it was not in th days of the Salian Franks, whose law and its successors prevented France from ever having a queen.

Eva Gabrielsson's plight might also spark a change in Sweden's inheritance laws, though I suspect that won't happen -- the result could lead to too many court fights. So yes, I suppose the warning is clear: Make a will.

Of course, this reminds one of the old saying "Where there's a will, there's a relative."

Yep, the expenses scandal may not be Britain's most worrisome problem.

June 13, 2009  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

You're quite welcome, Dana. And thanks once again for those straightforward, to-the-point questions.

June 13, 2009  
Blogger Dorte H said...

Very interesting interview.
I liked the bit about translations, and I am quite sure that some of the average Scandinavian novels have benefited from being translated into English.

June 13, 2009  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Thanks. I liked very much the way Dana phrased his question about translation.

What makes you say that some Scandinavian novels have likely benefited from translation? What sorts of things might English translators have added (or removed)? And have you read any Scandinavian books both in the original language and in English translation?

June 13, 2009  
Blogger Dorte H said...

It is an embarrassingly unscientific opinion, meaning I have never checked it properly. But sometimes I read a Swedish novel in Danish, and think the language is rather uninspiring, but when the same novel has been translated by Bartlett og Murray, my British blogger friends love it.

My only concrete example is the other way round. I read a fantastic novel by Australian Peter Temple, some parts in English and others in Danish (because I came across the Danish one in my local library). The Danish version sounded flat and stale, and most of the members of my book club didn´t even finish it. The Australian one was a great experience.

June 13, 2009  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

That is a matter worth exploring, especially since Peter Temple is one of the great prose stylists in English-language crime fiction. That book could have had a poor or unimaginative Danish translator, but it sounds as if the problem may be more widespread than that. Maybe it's just that my fellow CrimeFest attendees Bartlett and Murray are particularly good at their jobs. They do, after, all make up half this year's International Dagger shortlist. Or maybe your great countryman Otto Jespersen was right when he attributed such vitality to the English language.

June 13, 2009  
Blogger Dorte H said...

Otto Jespersen was certainly onto something :)
Once my husband struggled with a book on theology in English. When he had asked me what eight words on the same page meant, and they basically meant the same in Danish, he nearly threw the book away.
And the translator of the Peter James book is a knowledgeable and competent translator; the problem is that we don´t have good ways of showing differences in class etc, so an Australian slangy text comes across much like an Afro-American one.

June 14, 2009  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

When English's famously profuse vocabulary clashes with a work that is not only academic, but a work of theology, where meaning is impossible to pin down with any sort of precision while making sense at the same time -- I can well understand your husband's urges. He should follow the example of yet another great Dane, give up hope of understanding, and take a leap of faith when it comes to theology.

Rendering dialect such that it captures both flavor and narrative intent must be among the hardest tasks for a translator of fiction. Perhaps the best approach is to render just enough of a character's speech in some rough slang to give an impression and to translate the rest in a more neutral style. That might avoid problems such as the ones you suggest.

Peter James, or Peter Temple?

June 14, 2009  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

And yes, I have just read that SK spoke of a leap "to" faith rather than "of" faith. But my suggestion still applies!

June 14, 2009  
Blogger Dorte H said...

Of course it should have been Peter Temple.
All those famous Peters ;)

June 14, 2009  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Perhaps you had recently read something by or about Peter James. Or Bill James. Or Clive James. Or P.D. James.

June 14, 2009  

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