Saturday, March 27, 2010

Episode 551: Enfin, Je Peux Dire Que J'ai Lu Sarraute

I'm now in Nice, right smack in the middle of the Côte d'Azur. With any luck, I'll charm a rich benefactor with my French and never have to work again. Yeah right. I did get along quite well when we made a stop for lunch at Aigues-Mortes though. I carried Nathalie Sarraute's Enfance along with me to subtly advertise to the locals that I'm a fellow francophone, and it totally worked. I actually finished the book on the last leg of our drive to Nice, and I have to say, my opinion of it has completely reversed from when I first cracked it open. I found it rather tiresome initially, but once I really got into it, it was like reading a novel in English. It's partly because Sarraute can be considered a contemporary novelist, I guess, because the vocabulary of Enfance isn't actually that hard. I didn't have to resort to the dictionary at all, even though there were some words whose precise English equivalent escaped me, but on the whole, I caught the sense of the book, which was pretty awesome. To me, anyway. The big test for me when reading something in Chinese or French is whether I would read it if it had been written in/translated into English. In this case, definitely. I think Sarraute's a brilliant writer and would happily read her later stuff when I have the money to buy it, as well as space on my shelves.

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