Foreign Tongue, Vanina Marsot

Foreign Tongue book cover, Vanina Marsot

I think the best part about this novel is Marsot’s loving attention to language and the differences between French, English, and their respective culturally derived sensibilities. The protagonist is translating a risqué manuscript from French into English: be prepared to be introduced to terminology decidedly not taught in high school French class.

An enjoyable and thought-provoking discussion of the importance of and roles played by translators in literature, and how a good translator can transform mediocrity into the sublime.

Unfortunately, some strange plotting at the end keeps this book from being sublime itself. Despite its flaws, it’s definitely worth reading.

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