Book Club Pick Week 19

L’etranger or “The Stranger” as it is known to its english speaking audience is a novel by Albert Camus first released in 1942 in France.

I’ve read Jo Nesbø – the most famous Norwegian writer – in english. Which made the book so much more difficult than it needed to be had I just read the Norwegian one. It’s awkward and it feels off to read about local places in a different tongue.

I’ve also read translated books from English to Norwegian. And I feel the exact same way! Norwegian isn’t capable of capturing the same sentiment as the English version set in an English speaking setting.

When I was studying Spanish in Spain, I read Paolo Coelho in both English and Spanish. (Yes I know, Paolo Coelho is Brazilian, but I do assume that a translation to Spanish is much closer than it would be to English or Norwegian.) And I found a deeper romance in the Spanish version than the English one.

I am thoroughly convinced that a book is best read how it is intended by it’s writer in it’s own language, but I’m going to give this translated version of The Stranger a try.

The back blurb by the Chicago Sun Times reads: “Matthew Ward has done Camus and us a  great service. The Stranger is now a different and better novel for its American readers; it is now our classic as well as France’s.


(Also, I felt it was time to dig into some classic literature after the hardcore thriller I’d just read. I hope this one is calmer and more philosophical.)