Thursday, July 05, 2012

Andrea Camilleri and Stephen Sartarelli win the CWA International Dagger

Andrea Camilleri and Stephen Sartarelli have won the 2012 CWA International Dagger for translated crime fiction for Sartarelli's translation of Camilleri's novel The Potter's Field. Here's part of what I wrote about the book last year:
“Typically for a Montalbano novel, the investigation becomes one of mob connections, heated emotions, and family secrets. But crime, investigation, and solution are the least of the Montalbano novels. Every word is a commentary, sometimes wry, sometimes righteously angry, sometimes touching, on the protagonist’s political, social, professional, and personal worlds. To choose just one typical example, `Ingrid’s husband was a known ne’er-do-well, so it was only logical that he should turn to politics.'”
Camilleri becomes the first non-French non-Swedish author to win the award, following Fred Vargas, Fred Vargas, Dominique Manotti, Fred Vargas, Johan Theorin, and Anders Roslund & Börge Hellström.

For those on the lookout for sexism in crime fiction, the estimable Sartarelli becomes the first male translator ever honored by the CWA, following Sian Reynolds for her Vargas translations, Amanda Hopkinson and Ros Schwartz for their work with Manotti, Marlaine Delargy for translating Theorin, and Kari Dickson for translating Roslund & Hellström's Three Seconds. Congratulations to Camilleri and Sartarelli.

Read my complete posts about The Potter's Field. And read Sartarelli's account of one of Salvo Montalbano's favorite curses in this comment thread.

© Peter Rozovsky 2012

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Anonymous kathy d. said...

It's great that Andrea Camilleri won for The Potter's Field. I loved that book, and the quote about Ingrid's husband was one I mentioned to friends in enthusiasm about the book.

It's also good that the CWA recognized Camilleri at this age and stage of his life, after his contributions to crime fiction (and humor) in writing about the eccentric, cantankerous, but brilliant and emotional Sicilian police detective we know and love.

And hats off to the terrific Stephen Sartarelli whose formal recognition for his translations and end notes are long overdue.

I only worry that someday this series will end, but happily note that many more books in the series are still to be translated.

July 05, 2012  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Kathy, Camilleri and Sartarelli had been shortlisted for the award a number of times. I was beginning to worry that they would come to be regarded as old reliables, alwaye in contention but always eclipsed by successive waves of enthusiasm for one or another source of crime fiction.

Awards can't add much luster to their splendid accomplishments, but it would be nice if they could add some sales.

July 05, 2012  
Anonymous I.J.Parker said...


July 06, 2012  
Blogger Simona said...

This is great news, indeed, for both Camilleri and Sartarelli.

July 06, 2012  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

I.J., I expect many readers will react as you did. The Montalbano series is probably the best-loved I have come across since I started reading crime fiction.

July 06, 2012  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Simona, it's good news for readers, too. It's nice to see an honor for a series that is so we--loved and so much fun without losing its edge.

July 06, 2012  
Anonymous solo said...

Clicked on your link to Sartarelli's comment on 'cursing the saints'.

Utterly unconvincing. I don't have a religious bone in my body but I come from a country/place (like Sicily) that takes or used to take religion seriously. Nobody who believes in saints curses them. Believers in saints treat them like middle-management who will intercede on their behalf with the Higher-Ups. They might invoke the saints or others in their curses (Jesus, Mary and Joseph!), but they never curse the saints themselves. It's just not done.

Either Camilleri, who I believe has declared himself an atheist, or his translator, hasn't figured out that fact.

Sartarelli has defended his translation of the word 'santiare' by quoting the 'Master' himself. I'd be more impressed if he quoted a reputable dictionary. Even better would be if he could show Sicilians other than Camilleri using 'santiare' in the meaning of 'cursing the saints'.
Imagination is a fine thing in writers but it's not a quality translators ought to boast about.

I wonder, would Sicilians or those Sicilians from Agrigento agree that 'santiare' means 'cursing the saints' or is that simply a Camillerism?

Since I'm being pernickety, may I respectfully ask if the only evidence that Hammett's 'gunsel' describes a young homosexual male comes from an interview with the 76 year old Erle Stanley Gardner in the 1965 edition of the Atlantic Monthly? If so, that evidence is not just thin, it's goddamn anorexic.

July 06, 2012  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

French Canadians will famously curse the sacraments and the chalice, but I don't know if they curse the saints. I'm not prepared to doubt Camilleri and Sartarelli, though, unless and until I hear unequivocally that Sicialians will not curse the saints. And even if that is the case, I might grant them artistic license if their intent is to show what a prickly character Salvo is.

In any case, Sartarelli's version of Salvo has been cursing the saints for fourteen books now, and the author seems not to have complained.

I might look for gunsel evidence in The Maltese Falcon and the screen versions thereof, perhaps the 1931 version especially.

July 07, 2012  

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