Every Day, Every Hour

Every Day, Every Hour


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Every Day, Every Hour 2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
nbmars on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book was written in German by a native Croatian and translated into English by Liesl Schillinger. Reviewing a translated book makes me nervous because of all the meta-factors at play: there is the original story, to which I have no access, intellectually or otherwise; there is the issue of how well the translation captures the spirit as well as the letter of the original; and there are cultural questions ¿ for example, if I find the dialogue strange, could it be that this is actually how conversation is made in other countries? A good translation is also an interpretation - sometimes that means it is best to leave in difference to demonstrate the features of a given culture, and sometimes meaning demands a looser correspondence.The upshot is, I'm not sure if my less than enthusiastic response to this book was a reaction to the author's writing, the plot, the quality of the translation, or a result of my own shortcomings as a reader. The story is about Luka and Dora, who first meet in kindergarten when Luka is five and Dora two. Right away I had problems. Luka sees Dora and is fascinated. He holds his breath and faints. Dora runs to his side, and, kissing him on the lips, whispers to him: "You are my sleeping beauty, only mine, wake up, my prince, you are my prince, only mine¿¿That is one precocious two-year-old!Four years pass, and the two children become inseparable. Everyone in the town of Makarska realizes it:"There¿s something strange in the air when Dora and Luka are together. You can¿t call it calm, and you can¿t call it storm. It smells of mandarin oranges and roasted almonds, of the sea and fresh-baked cookies, and springtime. As if they were enveloped in a cloud. Some people say the cloud is turquoise, others that it¿s orange.¿Very pretty, but what does it mean? Feel free to think of me as coarse and too literal, but those sorts of passages have no meaning for me.When Dora is six, her family moves to Paris, and she and Luka don¿t see each other again. But something is missing in each of their lives. Sixteen years later they unexpectedly meet again, and after what to me is rather disjointed and stilted dialogue, they become lovers. [Caveat: Grammar and sentence construction can be so different in other languages - is the dialogue unsatisfactory to me because the translation was too literal?] But in spite of their passion for one another, the recent past intervenes, and they must part again. And come together and part. And so on. The crux of the problem is that Luka may have developed into a handsome young man, as well as a painter of some note, but regrettably he never grew a backbone. What Dora sees in him is totally beyond me. But Dora perseveres, and she has an ace in the hole, so to speak. But will she use it? Can she? And most importantly, WHY WOULD SHE WANT TO BECAUSE LUKA IS A TOTAL IDIOT?!!!Evaluation: Given all these insecurities I have in knowing what I¿m reading (see especially the first paragraph on the problems of translations), I hope you take my limitations into account when I say I wasn¿t very enamored of this book. I didn¿t feel a comfort and ease in the dialogue between the two principals, nor did I sense any ¿chemistry¿. (But maybe that¿s how they express themselves in that culture - what do I know?) Additionally, the use of present tense for the past bothered me. I also found both characters irritating. But don¿t take my word for it, please! Rights have been sold in more than twenty countries!