Friday, February 1, 2008

From Bath to Baden!

HAPPY FEBRUARY, everyone! Here we go again. The annual carousel has spun back around to the month of groundhogs and overpriced roses, chocolates, and mushy greeting cards.
But I'm no cynic--not really. I firmly believe in True Love in all its glory. In fact, few things give me greater pleasure than to write about it.

I've even written about it auf Deutsch!

My 2006 time-travel romantic comedy, BY A LADY: Being the Adventures of an Enlightened American in Jane Austen's England has just been released as EINE LADY IN BATH, a German translation (by Christine Heinzius). Notice their more economical title. And they didn't waste time with the cover image, either (it's actually Madame Recamier, in a rather famous portrait currently at the Musée de Carnavalet in Paris). The art department zoomed right in on the cleavage.

I do love the German cover, actually, although I think the publisher might have found a better place to stick their imprint. Our heroine looks like she has a mouche made of electrical tape.

The way I wrote it, it's a romp -- a funny, sexy novel of romance, mystery, and time travel…and the perfect treat for all Jane Austen fans.

BY A LADY is still in print, in case German isn't your first language. Here's the premise : C.J. Welles, a New York actress, is on the verge of landing her dream role: portraying Jane Austen in a Broadway play. But during her final audition—garbed in full nineteenth-century dress—she exits stage left and emerges onto the stage of quite another theatre in an altogether different time, having been mysteriously transported to the English city of Bath in the year 1801.

I would really love to see how the steamy sex scenes were translated. My husband speaks German, so when I get a copy, I'll have to ask him to read them aloud to me. Will it send me into paroxysms of ecstasy, like Jamie Lee Curtis in "A Fish Called Wanda" every time she heard sweet (or not) nothings murmured in a foreign tongue?

Have you ever read an American novel in a foreign translation? How did it compare to the source material in terms of tone? Did you take the translation as a novel on its own terms and merits or did you find yourself comparing it to the English-language original?

1 comment:

Unknown said...

The German cover is beautiful. I don't read any other languages but even translations can change from translator to translator. I love Pablo Neruda and the English versions of his poems change depending on who translates them. Some translators are more lyrical than others.