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Bilingual Lord of the Rings Reread

LotR Reread is now the Bilingual LotR Reread!

Y’all may have noticed that I’ve been dragging my feet on doing the Lord of the Rings reread posts. This is because I’ve also got the trilogy in French, and I’ve been vexed at myself for not doing a proper bilingual reread since I’ve got the French versions available!

So I’m waking these posts up again, but I’m going to do it moving forward with covering what I can pick up out of the French editions as well. I’m going to format the posts similarly to what I’m doing in the Trilingual Harry Potter Reread–i.e., limiting the lingual discussion to “five general things noted in the French edition” and “five worldbuilding things noted”. This will be in the interests of trying to keep the post lengths down to as reasonable a length as possible, and also to help me actually try to do them in a reasonable time frame.

My next post is going to be a catchup to get to the point where I left off in the English edition, which is to say, the hobbits are about to meet Tom Bombadil.

For the interested, my French edition of The Fellowship of the Ring is this one, or at least has this cover; the ISBN on my copy doesn’t match this one on Goodreads:

La Communauté de l'Anneau (Le Seigneur des Anneaux, #1)

Now that I’ve completed another rewatch of the movies, though, I am now totally in the mood for this. So let’s do this, shall we? Next post is about to drop!

(And the only reason this isn’t a full Trilingual Reread, by the way, is that I don’t own copies of the trilogy in German. YET.)

Trilingual Harry Potter Reread

Trilingual Harry Potter Reread: Book 1, Chapter 9: “The Midnight Duel”

Back at last to the Trilingual Harry Potter Reread! When last we left Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, Harry had been introduced to Snape–who is, of course, Harry’s primary nemesis amongst the teachers. But he’s got another one amongst the students, and we’re about to have more camera time on Harry and Draco Malfoy going ‘grr’ at one another. As you do.

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Trilingual Harry Potter Reread

Trilingual Harry Potter Reread: Book 1, Chapter 8: The Potions Master

It’s been a while since I’ve been able to do another of these posts, but I haven’t forgotten about them, I promise! This is what happens when you spend a few weeks fighting off a nasty cold and then, even after you’re more or less better, you have to focus all your energy on the day job and on trying to get some writing done.

But now I’ve got a few cycles left over for Harry Potter. So let’s get back into Book 1, shall we? In this post, I’ll look at Chapter 8! Which means everybody’s favorite potions master who really wants to teach Defense Against the Dark Arts, and who really has it in for our boy Harry. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Severus Snape.

Snape, Snape, Sev-er-us Snape

Snape, Snape, Sev-er-us Snape

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Trilingual Harry Potter Reread

Trilingual Harry Potter Reread: Book 1, Chapter 7: The Sorting Hat

I have been asked on Google+ when the next post of this series would be going up, and I take this as a nudge to go ahead and get this posted! To all those who have in fact been coming by to read these: thanks and I hope you’re enjoying them! I’ll try to make sure I do them more regularly moving forward.

So where’d we leave off? Harry, Ron, and Hermione have made it to Hogwarts, and they’ve come into the great hall to be Sorted into Houses along with the rest of the incoming first-year students. Which, of course, means that we get to see the Sorting Hat in action.

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Book Log

Book review: La Rivière des morts, by Esther Rochon

La Rivière des mortsLa Rivière des morts by Esther Rochon

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

It’s tough for me to review this novel properly. My French isn’t good enough yet to have truly understood the majority of what I read here–and it didn’t help either that certain aspects of Mme. Rochon’s style here made it difficult for me to follow the action.

One, I did at least figure out that the book’s divided into a section involving protagonist Laura Fraser as a young girl, and a section involving her as an older woman (post-menopausal? Again, my French isn’t that solid yet, so I wasn’t able to nail that down for sure). It baffled me that the book changed tenses between these two sections, from first person in the earlier part to third in the latter. That was a baffling decision, one beyond my meager French to properly understand; it may well have made much more sense to Quebecois SF/F readers, I don’t know.

Two, in both sections, there was a certain distinct detachment to the action. In the first part, Laura tells the reader a lot of her history, along the lines of “this happened to me” and “I felt such-and-such a way”, with very little of what was going on actually played out directly. The same held true in the second part, although at least there, there were a few more scenes of direct interaction between Laura and other characters, notably Valtar and Sirwala. This made it a lot harder for me to feel engaged by any of the characters.

Three, instead of getting much in the way of action and character dialogue played out directly, we get a lot of lengthy paragraphs of Laura being introspective about assorted things that trouble her as a girl (mostly “the French speakers think I’m weird because I have an English name, and the English speakers think I’m weird because I speak with a French accent, and I HATE ALL OF THEM and I’m going to go dream about being a spider now”), and later, assorted things that trouble her as an adult. Later, when she does actually have direct interaction with other characters (mostly Valtar), each paragraph of dialogue is likewise very long. On the one hand, I regret that my French was not up to the task of following much of this, because I’m certain I’d have engaged with Laura as a character much more if I could actually understand most of what the text was saying. On the other hand, even as an Anglophone reader who’s barely able to dip her toes into Quebecois SF/F so far, I kept feeling like the lengthy, expository nature of the dialogue was forced. I’d be really curious to know if it reads that way to Quebecois readers as well, or if this is just a matter of my being a beginner at French.

So far, the one other Quebecois SF/F novel I’ve successfully read was significantly different stylistically, and targeted for younger readers as well–so it was much easier for me to follow. This one, I’ll straight-up admit, was a hard slog. So for now I’m going to have to give it two stars. But I’ll want to try it again later, as my French improves, and see whether my reading experience is different.

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Trilingual Harry Potter Reread

Trilingual Harry Potter Reread: Book 1, Chapter 6: The Journey from Platform Nine-and-Three-Quarters

Chapter 6 of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone is, for my money, where things finally start getting interesting. We’ve had a lot of exposition thrown at us in the first five chapters of this story, mostly courtesy of Hagrid, who gives Harry his intro to the world.

But in Chapter 6, when Harry is finally on his way to Hogwarts, we get introduced to Ron and Hermione. Accordingly, we get the very beginnings of the friendship that is the foundation of the entire series.

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Trilingual Harry Potter Reread

Trilingual Harry Potter Reread: Book 1, Chapter 5: Diagon Alley

Whenever people think of the Harry Potter universe, one of the first examples that pops into everybody’s head as a canonical demonstration of how everything works is Diagon Alley: where all the Hogwarts students have to go to buy the equipment they’ll need for the coming school year.

And, well, it’s a justifiable thing for everybody to think of, because holy crap Diagon Alley is neat. As Harry gets to see for the very first time, in Chapter 5 of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone!

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