I remember when I “got into reading”. I must have been 15 or so when I read Suskind’s Perfume. That book blew me away. It’s not that I didn’t use to read before that, I did, but never so passionately. Since then, my love for books has become greater and greater, and I never go more than a couple of days without reading some book or other.
In the last couple of months I’ve read all kinds of books, from The Pillars of the Earth and The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night time, to Catcher in the Rye and Ines of my Soul.
It is Isabel Allende’s Ines of my soul that I am reading at the moment. And I am reading it in English! After having read Arturo Perez Reverte’s Capitan Alatriste in English last year, I promised myself that I would never ever again read a Spanish author in English. The translation for Alatriste was aweful. I spent more time translating back to the Spanish than actually paying any attention to what I was reading. So I decided that I would wait until I could buy the books in their original language before doing something like that again. But then… I was in the bookshop… I saw that book… I couldn’t resist myself. And yes, I did it again. I bought a Spanish-language book, in English!
BUT. Big but. This one is actually translated properly. You can actually read fluently without stopping at every sentence thinking to yourself “Oh, that actually makes no sense translated like that from Spanish, the translator should have written….”. Of course, as it happens with every book based in real places with real names, you get lots of references to places and people that you can’t translate, and people without either the geographical or historical knowledge wouldn’t know what the book is talking about (but you can always use your imagination in those cases)
The first Isabel Allende’s book I ever read was “The House of the Spirits” and I thought it was a magical book, so well written, with so much life on it. Ines of my Soul uses the same writing technique, that very special style of Allende. This is what the book is about (I’ve copied this from her website, which will explain the plot in better words than mine): It is the beginning of the Spanish conquest of the Americans, and when Inés’s shiftless husband disappears to the New World, she uses the opportunity to search for him as an excuse to flee her stifling homeland and seek adventure. After a treacherous journey to Peru, she learns of his death in battle. She meets and begins a passionate love affair with a man who seeks only honor and glory: Pedro Valdivia, war hero and field marshal to the famed Francisco Pizarro. Together, Inés and Valdivia will build the new city of Santiago and wage a ruthless war against the indigenous Chileans. The horrific struggle will change them forever, pulling each toward their separate destinies.
I can’t wait to keep on reading a bit more! I’m off to bed, to read… Good night!