Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Amanda Michalopoulou's I'd Like

Very strong collection. The best story was "Teef," as it kept teetering between realism and fable. Sometimes the tendency is to exoticize the foreign, and since I don't know exactly about psychiatric treatment facilities in Greece, it's hard to tell the fabulous from the real. The story walks tightly on either side of the line and keeps the reader in suspense, while the narration is masterful and confident in exposition, but the protagonist's confidence is upended in the dialogue. Michalopoulou is a gifted writer. 

As an aside, I took a glance at the story "I'd Like" in the original Greek, and I can see the translation is very well done. But keep in mind, even the title to "I'd Like" does not translate smoothly as is the case in so many translations. 

Why is it that the manner in which we say "I'd like" differs so much between languages? The Italians and French are similar, but "per piacere" and "s'il vous plait" are still strange ways to ask for something. 

Me at a restaurant: "Gravy, if it pleases you." 
Waiter: "Why would it please me? You're the one about to eat it!"

In Greek, the title to "I'd Like" is "Tha ithela" which properly translates as "I would have wanted" or "I would have liked."

Greeks expect to be disappointed, or else they live in anterior time.

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