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I read this book two years ago and was really impressed by the writing...and I didn't mind that it wasn't super long either. :) Happy reading!


I have read quite a lot of books in translation in the past year or so - often because my daughter who is coming to the end of her modern languages degree, has recommended them, although she has read them in the original language of course!

I think that there are very definitely national styles of writing - I have enjoyed the majority of the French and Italian books but struggled a bit with some books translated from Spanish for some reason.


I finished '1914' last month and really liked it.


A year of French in translation! ;) Sounds like you found a good book and short too. Definitely one to finish!


A war book you are unsure of whether it will be really explicit or not in terms of battlefield scenes is definitely more approachable when it is short! I am very much enjoying the writing, too.


You'll have to tell me if you have read any particularly good ones. In the past I usually do really well with reading books in translation, so I am not sure what is going on this year. I need to make more of an effort. And I am envious of people who can read books in other languages--just think of all the reading possibilities that opens up! So little really is even translated into English! I think you are right that there are similarities with writing in different countries--I'm not sure I could ever tell you what they are, but I recognize it, too. And you are not the first person to mention that Spanish literature can be a struggle. I have not read enough of it in any case, though I have read a few really good books and know I would like to try more.


I wondered if you might have read it. I am glad to hear you enjoyed it and I hope to finish this weekend. I am just reading a bit each day--so easy to get through a war story that way (than trying to take it all in at one sitting). I have a feeling it is not going to be/turn out in the way I expect.


I wonder why I seem to be reaching for French literature more than other languages. It was Hebrew lit for a while, but I have not read a single thing in months. I like having shorter books interspersed with longer ones--I feel like I am actually making progress on my reading.


I'm glad you like it too. The writing is great. I'm afraid there might still be a few difficult chapters. There's one about anima is. I'm dreading that.


Antoine Laurain has written two lovely books - The President's Hat and The Red Notebook. Quite slim and stylish but wonderfully enjoyable.
My daughter has just recommended Chez Moi by Agnes Desarthe too. I have only read a page or two so far but I think that I am going to love it as it has that Chocolat vibe (and Chocolat is one of my all time favourite books!)
The only Italian translations I have read recently are some rather hard-boiled crime novels by Massimo Carlotto and of course I am attempting Elena Ferrante although you might like Maurizio de Giovanni's rather quirky crime series set in 1930's Naples. His detective has a very unusual talent to say the least.


I know there are going to be warfare scenes--I will try and finish tomorrow, or will split what is left over the next couple of days. It is especially hard to read about horrible things happening to animals--thanks for the warning. I know you had some hesitations about the translation, but I am finding it well done--at least nothing has struck me as odd sounding, though, I too wonder why they changed the title. I am sure it is a marketing thing. I think over here anyway, more people are apt to know just what 1914 means and maybe just having '14 would not make people thing first of WWI--at least generally speaking. The edition I have has a number of really useful notes in the back of the book.


I think I might have one or two books by Lourain now that you mention titles--or at least they are books I have jotted down to look for. Oh, how sad is this--I think I read Chez Moi--as a matter of fact I am almost sure as the cover illustration looks so very familiar. I love Chocolat, too, and I think that is the one book I have reread most often. I even love the movie adaptation (even with the changes) as much as the book, which rarely happens. I have the first few books by de Giovanni and the first one is even in the little bookcase next to my bed! I am intrigued by your quirky description. I have those one of the Carlotto books and three by Lucarelli.... There is lots of good Italian crime fiction, isn't there?

And I have looked--I did read Chez Moi--how sad that my reads fade away after a while, but after reading my post now I remember the story:

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