A satisfied smile crept over my face after pointing out the dash-related problems in different editions of Turgidovsky’s new novel, Delicious Air of Life (or the Ugly God[-]damned Wife). ‘There,’ I thought, ‘I’ve put that straight’. Perhaps I could have written more on the subject, perhaps I could have quoted my source (the translator) at a little more length. Or, as my wife was to point out in another one of her supreme smile-grabbing statements: ‘perhaps you should have written about this weeks ago’.
Why so? Well, although I announced the dash in, dash out situation earlier this week, the evidence had, in fact, been in front of me for a fortnight. After all, had I not admitted here that I own both the English and American editions of the book? I even went so far as to describe their covers, failing to notice as they did that that they have quite different titles: one with a dash, one without. An oversight on my part, I fear: a frightening oversight. As for my wife: she is, as ever, drenched in correctness.
Whilst we’re on the subject of strangely translated titles, I was only yesterday informed that Oa Aayorta’s novel, The Endless Winter Night, has made its Stateside appearance under the moniker A Night in the Kitchen. I know there is more discrepancy between titles than we care to imagine – and I’m aware that neither title is exactly right (a translation is always an approximation; a gesture toward the truth). Still, A Night in the Kitchen?