Friday, September 25, 2009

Books That Have Passed My Way

A number of years ago I found a book in french, Rue des Boutiques Obsure, of which I could read the first couple of pages without too much diffuculty - or difficulte - so I bought it. I remember once sitting down to read it, and getting through 30 or so pages before giving up. I had a pale idea of what was going on. I wrote notes in the margins. When I gave up, I thought, this would be a good book to get the english version of ... and read, side by side. Some time later I found the english version on Amazon Dotcom. I knew it was the same book because Amazon provided the first chapter or so for reading. I could read side by side the english and the french and well there were essentially the same prose.

Flash forward, and sometime last spring, the idea of reading them side by side surfaced again. For the umpteenth time or so, my glance fell on Rue des Boutiques Obscure. I went back to Amazon. I found the same book, but couldn't find the first chapter, until, well clicking here, and clicking there, and of course I was confused why the title was translated as Missing Person ... Long story short, I ordered it, read 'them' somewhat side by side... Well, I would read one chapter in one, then maybe two in the other, or, the french would throw me into the air for 50 or so words, and I'd have to go read the english...

Ultimately, near the end, I didn't really need the english; but then again, shit!, ou possible, merde!, I was content to be getting 60 % of what I was reading.

In the long run, it was a fairly interesting story. an amnesiac who after a number of years picks up the trail on his former existence only to discover the tragedy that caused him to forget everything to begin with... The title americain sort of addresses that; that he was the Missing Person. The title francais refers to an address where the old Guy (c'est son nom) lived in Rome. It refers to an area of the story that was never actually addressed in the novel, is someplace Guy is heading at the end of the story.