Thursday, October 9, 2014

And the winner is...

It's that time of year, Murakami doesn't win the Nobel. But it always stirs up a lot of talk.

Asymtote have an interview with Murakami translator Jay Rubin:

The New Yorker has a Murakami short story translated by Ted Goossen:

And Granta have a piece written by Yukiko Motoya, translated by Asa Yoneda:

I've just finished Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki, and I've been thinking recently about the lack of critical reviews of translated works. There is usually a single line that mentions 'this is a translation' for good or bad, and nothing more is said. But a decent review of the work as a translation can be hard to do without falling down to nagging about word choice. I was pleased to see translator Philip Gabriel keeping some Japanese specific terms such as kotatsu, but bento was jarringly translated as boxed lunch, and it was also quite strange to see distances measured in miles and not kilometres. But how much do such word choices effect the reading experience for the majority of Murakami readers? Not much. One section of the novel deals with the use of the masculine pronoun ore and how that influences the relationship between Tazaki and Aka. Gabriel did quite well to explain the usage within the context of story. I enjoyed restraint of Colorless TsukuruTazaki much more than the sea of unnecessary text that was 1Q84.

I also recently read All You Need Is Kill, the acclaimed sci-fi novel behind the latest Tom Cruise movie, Edge of Tomorrow. The underlying storyline was quite interesting, but I was quite turned off by the immature characterisation and juvenile conversations. It felt more like Japanese high school 'light novel' drama pulp, unsatisfying as a sci-fi novel. It is rating very well over at Goodreads (4+), but if anyone can tell me why, I'd really like to know.