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Old 08-31-2008, 01:39 PM   #1
yargoflick
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City by Alessandro Baricco


City by Alessandro Baricco

Man, I haven't read anything like it in a while.
If you like Kurt Vonnegut, Richard Brautigan, or Chuck Palahniuk I'll bet dollars to donuts you'll love this.

Its fun, quirky, insightful, and well, just read it. No matter where you buy it it's less than 10 bucks, and well worth it.

The Publishers Weekly review of the book on the Sony Store page is pretty scathing. I think they were hoping for another romantic drama like Silk. Instead they got quirky and odd. All I can say is that it made me giddy and I'm trying to get everyone I know to read it.

Sony eBook store:
http://ebookstore.sony.com/product/4...000076533.html


Mobipocket:
http://www.mobipocket.com/en/eBooks/...p?BookID=71681

ps,
If anyone finds Silk by the very same Alessandro Baricco in any the ebook stores please let me know. I read it years ago, and I would love to get an ebook of it, but I can't seem to find it anywhere.

Cheers,
Lee

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Old 08-31-2008, 02:14 PM   #2
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i will enthusiastically second this recommendation, i ADORE Alessandro Baricco. he is absolutely brilliant. and i didn't even know you get this as an ebook... yay ! with a little luck i'll be able to find it in french.

i'd also recommend his other books, even if you have to read them in (*gasp* !) paper. i couldn't find my other favorites as ebooks when i did a quick search just now but nonetheless "Novecento, pianiste" and "les Châteaux de la colère" (i couldn't find that in english, perhaps it hasn't been translated, but for the french readers...) are infinitely worthwhile. (skip the movie version of novecento, despite tim roth it's terrible). "ocean sea" is also a great book but be warned, it's not an easy read and it will leave it's mark on you.

and yes, if anyone finds any of his other books available as ebooks i'm interested too.
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Old 08-31-2008, 03:11 PM   #3
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"City" and "Without Blood" avaiable for the Kindle here at $7.96........

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_ss_ki...icco&x=21&y=20
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Old 08-31-2008, 03:15 PM   #4
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those are the only two i found as ebooks as well so far (and none in french ! snif !). i've not read "without blood" and having read the synopsis i'm a bit worried, it could turn out to be like "ocean sea"... great book, but once was enough.

i might just get city though, even if it is in english...
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Old 08-31-2008, 03:25 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by zelda_pinwheel View Post
those are the only two i found as ebooks as well so far (and none in french ! snif !). i've not read "without blood" and having read the synopsis i'm a bit worried, it could turn out to be like "ocean sea"... great book, but once was enough.

i might just get city though, even if it is in english...
To be able to read and comprehend in two languages is quite a feat, Madame Z! Kudos to you.....
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Old 08-31-2008, 03:28 PM   #6
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i might just get city though, even if it is in english...
Your English seems pretty much perfect - judging by what you write here.

With language skills that good, I'm curious (as someone who'll never find out personally ) whether it matters which language you read in.
Do you still find French significantly easier than English?
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Old 08-31-2008, 03:59 PM   #7
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Your English seems pretty much perfect - judging by what you write here.

With language skills that good, I'm curious (as someone who'll never find out personally ) whether it matters which language you read in.
Do you still find French significantly easier than English?
actually it's not really a question of ease, it's more a question of the quality of the reading experience, but yes i find it does matter. as i've recently written a long answer about my thoughts on the subject elsewhere i'm just going to copy and paste it... pretty soon i'm going to write a thesis about this subject.

i prefer to read in the original text if possible. if not possible, i prefer to read a translation into french of italian or spanish, generally, but a translation into english of german or dutch. but there could be exceptions, depending on the style / subject of the text. i think each language has its own "colour" or "texture" which adds as much to the meaning as the individual words chosen, because it adds to the ambiance of the text. this is partly created by the vocabularly, depending on the roots of the words, and partly on the syntaxe, the way sentences can be structured and such.

for example, french is very good for talking about beauty or tenderness or love or abstract philosophical ideas in a precise and eloquent way without sounding sentimental or juvenile, which is not so easy in english ; it's hard to avoid sounding either vulgar or childish (and even in describing this phenomenon i am demonstrating it, because what i REALLY would like to say is "mièvre" and "niais" but i can't think of a good english equivalent ! for "mièvre," the dictionary proposes "affected," "dainty" and "vapid", none of them is quite right).

but english can communicate really percussive ideas and create short, dynamic, brutal sentences, which require longer paraphrases in french because of the grammatical structure and so lose some of their impact. so, you *can* write a noir detective novel in french, but i think there is a reason the most famous ones are written in english (chandler, hammett...). and of course, in english you can easily make up super-hero names like "Vocabulary Girl" which really don't translate into french very well, and that is frustrating sometimes !!

a good translation can be *almost* as good as reading the original. a bad translation can ruin a brilliant book for you. so i prefer to keep all the chances on my side and read a version which has the best chance of conveying the tone as well as the litteral meaning of the original.

as an example of the difference between french and english in mysteries i was recently struck by this paragraph from the latest mystery by Fred Vargas (a french writer who really epitomises for me the french intellectual / philosophical mystery style, almost to the point of being a caricature of the concept but not quite, and one of my favorite authors) :

"Ici ressurgit à pleine puissance l'antagonisme qui divisait les members de la Brigade entre les positivistes matérialistes que les errances d'Adamsberg indisposaient gravement, parfois jusqu'à la révolte, et ceux plus conciliants qui ne voyaient pas le mal à pelleter des nuages de temps à autre."

--Fred Vargas, Un Lieu Incertain

my rather feeble attempt at a translation :

"Here burst forth at full strength the antagonism which divided the members of the Brigade, between the materialistic positivists whom the wanderings of Adamsberg gravely indisposed, sometimes to the point of revolt, and those more conciliatory who saw no harm in shovelling clouds from time to time."

i don't know how a professional translator would fare with that paragraph (hopefully better than me). but it seems to me really to capture the difference between the french polar and the english noir mystery, on every point : language, concept, style... in french it reads very well ; in english, no doubt at least partly due to my translation but also because english is the wrong colour for this, it seems stilted to me and rather ungainly.

as a counter example, i first read Dorothy Sayers and SS Van Dine both in french. i think the translations were fairly decent and i liked both authors very well. but when i finally was able to read the original books in english, i found them much more lively witty than the translations had been able to render.

anyway i hope i've answered your question...

Last edited by zelda_pinwheel; 08-31-2008 at 04:20 PM. Reason: adding counter example.
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Old 08-31-2008, 04:08 PM   #8
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...anyway i hope i've answered your question...
Yes, very thought provoking.

Zelda.
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Old 08-31-2008, 04:13 PM   #9
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just as a further note... please don't be put off reading Fred Vargas by that paragraph !! that's another author i would highly recommend, if you like thoughtful, philosophical mysteries with well-developped characters. the official translations are, i'm sure, far better than mine.

ahem.

we now return you to your regularly scheduled thread. alessandro baricco, anyone ?
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Old 08-31-2008, 04:35 PM   #10
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I too love Baricco, especially 'Silk'.
And Fred Vargas does a very good detective story. Some are available in English translations too.
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