Wednesday, July 13, 2016

"Good on Paper"

my take: I picked this book based on a review that mentioned it was about language/translation which seemed like a subject I don't know much about or have read about. Let's just say maybe the book looked better on paper ...

The very flawed heroine is working temp jobs raising her out-of-wedlock child with her seemingly homosexual best friend when she is contacted out-of-the -blue to translate a Nobel winning poet's new work.

What ensues is a diatribe on Dante -  perhaps the author studied in grad school? So. Much. Detail. I took Milton for a semester in college - so I kind of get studying a poet in depth -  and, wow,  I cannot remember that much about Milton. I gamely tried to get through the Dante bits to get to the plot. Es.O.Teric.

The plot had a twist I wasn't expecting - far too distracted trying to see if any of the Dante bits were relevant to the heroine - so it was a satisfying read in that sense. I did enjoy getting the behind-the-scenes look at how translations can miss the essence or change the essence of the author's meaning/intention. I chose it for beach reading; I'd like to think my lazy reading of this book is due to vacation-mode and not that it's just over my head. Sigh.  Moving on.

my source: Book Riot's Best Books of 2016, So Far

my verdict: An okay read. Unless you LOVE Dante.  


  1. Now this is a helpful review - I came across this one and thought it sounded good on paper as well but appreciate the heads up.

  2. Yep - I'm just not that into Dante. I'll skip it and read one of your recommends.