One thing about the Utopiales Festival that is a little annoying is the fact that the festival has a big bookstore, almost none of the books in which I can read, because they are in a language I don’t read with any measurable skill. During the day, I’ll see a slate of French writers signing books and then see their books piled up on the stands, and I’ll be a bit glum knowing that I have no chance of reading them, short of actually learning to read French (or German, or whatever).
So I was really quite pleased last night when James Morrow handed me a copy of The SFWA European Hall of Fame, a collection of sixteen stories, originally written in languages other than English, and translated into English and edited carefully by James and Kathryn Morrow (with the help of the translators and writers) to retain as much of the flavor of the original text as possible.
That’s a lot of work, and it shows: I’m working my way through the book now, and the style and flavor of the work is different, sometimes in obvious ways and sometimes in ways more subtle. But as a reader in English, you do get the idea you’re through the looking glass a bit — that perspectives are skewed in unexpected and mostly pleasing ways. I haven’t gotten through enough of it yet to give it all a rave, but what I have read is enough to make me wish I was actually able to read another language than my own, in order to read more from these authors. Curse my leaden brain!
In any event: Check it out if you’re feeling worldy and adventurous.