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Night Shade Books
Posted on Sunday, April 06, 2003 - 03:15 am:   

Any Perez-Reverte fans here? I got into him after seeing The Ninth Gate, which was based on The Club Dumas (a *far* superior novel). I'd read Flanders Panel and Seville Communion, but I'm just now sitting down to read The Fencing Master and The Nautical Chart.

Jason
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Martinus
Posted on Sunday, April 06, 2003 - 04:48 am:   

I borrowed The Club Dumas at the library, but it was so good that I had to buy my own copy. I've been waiting for his other books to appear in Swedish, but so far no luck, so I guess I'll have to buy the English translations instead. Can you recommend anything to start with?

Martin
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Night Shade Books
Posted on Sunday, April 06, 2003 - 09:17 am:   

Either Flanders Panel or Seville Communion are good. Flanders Panel has a bit of trouble at the end, as it wraps everything up, and then keeps going for another 30 pages, but it's worth it. Seville Communion is a bit more thriller-ish, but well worth it. Neither are as good as The Club Dumas, but both are quite good. I haven't read the other two yet.

Jason
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Mastadge
Posted on Sunday, April 06, 2003 - 09:26 am:   

Haven't read any of his work, but I thought The Ninth Gate was *awful*.
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Night Shade Books
Posted on Sunday, April 06, 2003 - 10:10 am:   

When it comes to movies, I have a very low entertainment threshold. It had Johnny Depp and book collectors in it, and that's about all I need.

Since the advent of DVD, movies are much better for me. I very rarely like an entire movie, but on the other hand, I very rarely hate an entire movie. Just about any movie has some good bits in it, and I'm just as likely to throw in a dvd and watch 15 minutes of it, and then move on to the next movie.

Unlike a lot of folks, I can't work with music in the background. I tend to listen to music, as opposed to just having it on. It's very distracting. Movies, however, are a different case. I have movies going pretty much constantly in the background. Beast From Haunted Cave isn't a great film, but it's a great film to have as background noise while I work on Dunsany layout.

Wow, that's a lot more information than anybody probably wanted to know :-)

Jason
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Mastadge
Posted on Sunday, April 06, 2003 - 11:52 am:   

Did you see the way he was *treating* those books, though?

And the ending . . . wasn't.
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Martinus
Posted on Sunday, April 06, 2003 - 12:17 pm:   

I think I've seen a TV movie version of "The Flanders Panel" (it's about a girl restoring a painting of a game of chess, right?) and it was highly entertaining.
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GabrielM
Posted on Sunday, April 06, 2003 - 08:18 pm:   

I very much enjoy Perez-Reverte, I've read most of his books except the most recent novel about Mexican drug trafficking. He also has an excellent adventure series about a Spanish soldier, Capitan Alatriste, which hasn't been translated into English.
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Nicholas Liu
Posted on Sunday, April 06, 2003 - 08:37 pm:   

My exposure to him has, like Mastadge's, been sadly limited to The Ninth Gate, which didn't quite make me want to rush out and buy up every title in his bibliography. What bugged me most about the movie was how the only really supernatural element in the whole damn thing went entirely unnoticed and uncommented on by any of the characters. Yes, I'm talking about the flying girl. What was with that? The very unthreatening atmosphere didn't help, either; the most tension I felt throughout the whole thing came in the bits where Depp's reading priceless books with open flames nearby. But I digress.

So, looks like I'd better get myself a copy of The Club Dumas, then. Would it be hard to find, you think?
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GabrielM
Posted on Monday, April 07, 2003 - 08:15 am:   

>>My exposure to him has, like Mastadge's, been sadly limited to The Ninth Gate, which didn't quite make me want to rush out and buy up every title in his bibliography.


Huh? Then you've had zero exposure to him. The idea that you can judge an author by some mediocre movie adaptation of one of his novels is ludicrous.

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Gordon Van Gelder
Posted on Monday, April 07, 2003 - 08:34 am:   

I'm not even comfortable that you can judge a writer by _good_ film adaptations. Movies and written fiction are vastly different forms.

The list of good books that were turned into better movies is awfully short. My personal list consists of:

1) THE HUSTLER by Walter Tevis
2) THE SILENCE OF THE LAMBS by Thomas Harris
3) "The Body" by Stephen King/STAND BY ME

CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY by Roald Dahl used to be on the list, but I saw the film again recently and I didn't think it had aged well.

The only case I can think of where a _bad_ book was turned into a good movie was PLANET OF THE APES---maybe the translation is bad, but I really disliked Pierre Boulle's novel. I've heard that BRIDGE ON THE RIVER KWAI isn't nearly as good as the movie either, but I haven't read the novel.

I suspect that if I get a chance to read Susan Orlean's THE ORCHID THIEF, I'll add ADAPTATION to the list of good books turned into better movies.
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PeterW
Posted on Monday, April 07, 2003 - 09:15 am:   

While I've only read "Club Dumas", I enjoyed it quite a bit. The movie sucked.

If anyone gets the opportunity to hear Perez-Reverte talk, though, I'd strongly recommend you taking advantage of the situation. He's a very urbane and witty speaker (he had an excellent translator with him when I heard him -- he didn't feel confident with English). Used to be a war correspondent for Spanish television in Nicaraugua, Bosnia, and some other hot spots.
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Rhys
Posted on Monday, April 07, 2003 - 10:15 am:   

I picked up a copy of *The Dumas Club* last year. I thought it was tremendous!

Now I've just obtained *The Fencing Master*. Someone told me that this has been filmed for Spanish television with Assumpta Serna in one of the main roles, but I can't confirm this. Does anybody else know if this is true?
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KJ Bishop
Posted on Monday, April 07, 2003 - 11:59 am:   

Snap - I bought The Fencing Master yesterday. About halfway through, and enjoying it so far. I've got one quibble, but I'll wait till the end to see if it lasts.
Yep, there's a movie with Assumpta Serna:
http://www.eonline.com/Facts/Movies/0,60,66799,00.html
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steve r
Posted on Monday, April 07, 2003 - 12:48 pm:   

Fencing Master was filmed (not for TV) a few years ago, with a great Italian actor (can't remember his name) and Assumpta Serna, who oozes sinister sensuality without removing a bit of clothing! The film is excellent. The club dumas film was awful (even though I fancy the actress, Kate Beckinsale) and turned the vitally unhealthy chess-player into a young boring American buck. As for books, I think (but I read them in Spanish) The Fencing Master is the best, followed by what in English is the Ninth Gate, and then Club Dumas. In all the books, the build-up is more powerful than the denouements, but that said, they all have a strange compelling quality. I haven't read the huge swashbuckling series, because I want to stick to modern Spanish.
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steve r
Posted on Monday, April 07, 2003 - 12:52 pm:   

Sorry, mixed up there. Seems Ninth Gate is from the book Club Dumas, and the Kate Beckinsale film was La Tabla de Flandes - which does necesitate a certain knowledge of chess.
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Nicholas Liu
Posted on Monday, April 07, 2003 - 01:30 pm:   

GabrielM: "Huh? Then you've had zero exposure to him. The idea that you can judge an author by some mediocre movie adaptation of one of his novels is ludicrous."

Of course it's ludicrous. All I was saying is that having never read one of his books or heard him otherwise mentioned, a bad movie adaptation wasn't sufficient incentive for me to get myself acquainted with his work. There isn't any element of judging there at all. You can think of it as a PR failure of sorts.
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Rhys
Posted on Tuesday, April 08, 2003 - 05:01 am:   

Or an APR failure (Arturo Perez-Reverte) of sorts!!!!!!

Is *The Fencing Master* really better than *The Dumas Club*??? In that case I'm in for a marvellous read!
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Night Shade Books
Posted on Tuesday, April 08, 2003 - 06:21 am:   

Hi Gordon,

To the list of movies better than the books they were based on, I would like to add Jaws. Incredible movie, incredibly unmemorable book.

Jason
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Mastadge
Posted on Tuesday, April 08, 2003 - 08:41 am:   

Jason, I was about to say the same thing.

I'd also nominate The Princess Bride. Fun book, brilliant movie.

And I'm sure I'll be killed for this, but I'd also say Fellowship of the Ring. I can't stand Lord of the Rings; it bores me out of my skull. In fact, I think I've only ever made it through Book 5 before being so mind-numbingly, ridiculously stupefied that I had to put the thing down; I've never actually finished it. But I love that movie.
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Night Shade Books
Posted on Tuesday, April 08, 2003 - 09:34 am:   

Jaws is an easy one for me, as it's my favorite movie of all time.

Lord of the Rings... I'm quite fond of the books, particularly Book one. I'm considerably less fond of the 50 years of hack imitations that followed.

Jason
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Gordon Van Gelder
Posted on Tuesday, April 08, 2003 - 02:20 pm:   

I forgot to add one other one on my list:

PSYCHO by Robert Bloch

Good book, better movie.

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Luís Rodrigues
Posted on Tuesday, April 08, 2003 - 05:56 pm:   

I like Reverte. He's not an all-time favourite, but I enjoyed what I read.

The Ninth Gate movie was very bad, but not as horrible as many say it is. I'll never forget the scene at the hotel in Sintra where the clerk tells Johnny Depp something (in Portuguese) and the geniuses who wrote the Portuguese captions not only subtitled it, they used different words.

For a filmography of Reverte-adapted movies, see here:

http://us.imdb.com/Name?P%E9rez-Reverte,+Arturo

Best,
Luís
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Nicholas Liu
Posted on Tuesday, April 08, 2003 - 07:55 pm:   

I agree with Mastadge about Fellowship. The books are dead boring, but the movie was great fun.
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Rhys
Posted on Wednesday, April 09, 2003 - 04:34 am:   

The film of *Raise the Red Lantern* is better than the original novella by Su Tong. The novella is good but the film is brilliant.
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Martinus
Posted on Saturday, April 26, 2003 - 12:09 pm:   

Since last time, I've located a used copy of the Swedish translation of "The Flanders Panel", and it is excellent. But since "The Dumas Club" and "The Flanders Panel" are all that have appeared in Swedish, I wonder: How many of his books have appeared in English? I need them all! :-)
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Nicholas Liu
Posted on Thursday, June 19, 2003 - 02:51 am:   

Some editions have it as The Dumas Club, and others as The Club Dumas. I assume this means there's more than one translation. Question, then: does it make a big difference? Which translation did you read? Which should I get?
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Night Shade Books
Posted on Thursday, June 19, 2003 - 03:06 am:   

The UK edition was published as The Dumas Club, and the US edition was published as The Club Dumas. Far as I know, there are no textual differences. Perez-Reverte seems to have a specific translator that he likes, and all of the English language editions appear to use her translation. So you're good either way.

Jason
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Nicholas Liu
Posted on Thursday, June 19, 2003 - 05:49 am:   

All right, then. Thanks a lot.:-)

I wonder what the reason for the difference in titles is.
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Michael Bishop
Posted on Thursday, June 19, 2003 - 07:23 am:   

You folks might be interested to know that Arturo Perez-Reverte was inducted into the Spanish Academy this month, which, according to my agent Howard Morhaim, who also represents him, is sort of like winning the Pulitzer, the National Book Award, and the Nobel Prize for Literature all at the same time, at least if you're a Spaniard. As for me, I read the first 98 pages of *The Club Dumas* (Vintage International edition) and simply gave up. This may say more about me than about the book or the author.
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GabrielM
Posted on Thursday, June 19, 2003 - 08:52 am:   

>>I wonder what the reason for the difference in titles is.

It happens sometimes. I remember when Peter Hoeg's excellent novel came out in the US as SMILLA'S SENSE OF SNOW and in the UK as MISS SMILLA'S FEELINGS FOR THE SNOW or some such. Clearly on that occasion the US title was the better one.

On the other hand, you have situations like the first Harry Potter book title containing a reference to the Philosopher's Stone in the UK and to a "Sorcerer's Stone" in the US, apparently because American kids would be put off by the reference to a philosopher. If you read the book the fact that the maguffin is the fabled "philosopher's stone" becomes quite material to the plot.

I enjoyed the Dumas Club a great deal.
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Nicholas Liu
Posted on Thursday, June 19, 2003 - 10:45 am:   

Very interesting, but still leaves me scratching my head. I can't fathom why anyone would think The Club Dumas as a title would work better in the US and The Dumas Club in the UK. . . .

Annoyingly, this also leaves me uncertain as to how to think of it, let alone refer to it. The Club Dumas sounds better, but The Dumas Club makes more sense. Oh, well.
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Sneer
Posted on Thursday, June 19, 2003 - 11:45 am:   

In Belgium, it's been published as "The Club Dumbass"
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Jeremy Lassen
Posted on Thursday, June 19, 2003 - 03:32 pm:   

Don’t the differences in US and UK titles have to do with Spanish Grammer?

"The yellow Dog.." = "El pero amarrillo..."
In Spanish... pero = dog, thus the position of the adjective and noun are reversed when translating English to Spanish.

Since the original Spanish title is "El Club Dumas", "Dumas" would be the adjective, thus the British title is actually a more accurate translation, while the US title may, according to some marketing people somewhere, "sound better".


This is of course, based on my ridiculously poor knowledge of Spanish (considering the number of years I spent failing it in school), so I could very well be wrong.

-jl
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GabrielM
Posted on Thursday, June 19, 2003 - 08:03 pm:   

Yes, the DUMAS CLUB would be more accurate.
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JeffV
Posted on Thursday, June 19, 2003 - 08:49 pm:   

I wasn't real taken with the book. It has a few metafictional logic flaws in it.

JeffV
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Rhys
Posted on Friday, June 20, 2003 - 08:21 am:   

...Which is always the danger with metafiction. Logical flaws of that kind (based on form and structure and intertextuality) are easier to make than ordinary logical flaws (based on characters and motives)...

Metafiction is great but it's like walking across a tightrope made of woven sphagetti -- too brittle or too soggy and rarely just right.

All the same I still love Perez-Reverte and I'm looking forward to finally starting THE FENCING MASTER, which I bought months ago!
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Bill B.
Posted on Friday, June 20, 2003 - 08:51 am:   

I read THE FENCING MASTER a few weeks ago, it was my first reading of Perez-Reverte and I liked it very much. It's a very good novel that becomes special on the *final page*!
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JeffV
Posted on Friday, June 20, 2003 - 09:16 am:   

Good point, Rhys. But, to be honest, when that element began to show up, I was disappointed. I thought it might have been stronger without it. Perhaps something in the set up. Anyway, I know lots of people like it...

JeffV
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Nodoyuna
Posted on Friday, January 23, 2004 - 06:19 am:   

«Don’t the differences in US and UK titles have to do with Spanish Grammer?
"The yellow Dog.." = "El pero amarrillo..."
In Spanish... pero = dog, thus the position of the adjective and noun are reversed when translating English to Spanish.
Since the original Spanish title is "El Club Dumas", "Dumas" would be the adjective, thus the British title is actually a more accurate translation, while the US title may, according to some marketing people somewhere, "sound better".
This is of course, based on my ridiculously poor knowledge of Spanish (considering the number of years I spent failing it in school), so I could very well be wrong.»

________________________

Hi. Well I love as well the books by Arturo Perez Reverte. Maybe the ones I like most are "La tabla de Flandes" (about a mysterious picture and the chess game) and "La carta esferica" (a nice novel with the background of the sea and ships).

It's really nice and interesting to see here how many people post about Arturo in a forum of a publisher of fiction, supernatural and sf... I love it :-)

Dog = perro (with 2 "r")... The novel was entlited here "El club Dumas". Dumas is because of the french writer, Alexander Dumas (an author whose work Arturo loves: The Three musketeers, The count of Montecristo, etc), so Dumas should be noum or substantive. And I think the correct translation to english should be "The Dumas Club" (something like the friends of Dumas work, or the fans of Dumas), nut maybe, like u said, The Club Dumas sounds better.

The Fencing Master is one of their first novels (the 2nd I think) and it is really nice as well.

Saludos from Spain. Greets.

Nodoyuna
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Jamie
Posted on Friday, January 23, 2004 - 10:50 am:   

I have to say that "The Club Dumas" sounds much better to my ear, and since English is not all that picky about the placement of adjectives (viz. Captains Outrageous, rather than Outrageous Captains) I think that the US publishers made the right choice.

But that may be my not-quite-bilingual upbringing showing through.
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Mastadge
Posted on Wednesday, January 28, 2004 - 12:18 pm:   

I agree that The Club Dumas sounds better than The Dumas Club. And thanks for the endorsment of La tabla de Flandes, Nodoyuna, as that's the one I picked up after reading Club Dumas, and it's good to know that at least *somebody* likes it. ;)
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steve redwood
Posted on Wednesday, January 28, 2004 - 02:51 pm:   

Mastadge, the BOOK Tabla de Flandes is great - it was the film that was crud.
But Fencing Master both book and film are excellent.
Maybe one reason for 'The Club Dumas' in US is precisely because of a large Hispanic population.
Nodoyuna, greetings from Spain, too! Now that's a nice common name, like Pedro or Pablo...
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Neil A
Posted on Thursday, January 29, 2004 - 01:58 am:   

I have an extract from one of APR's latest translation - The Nautical Chart, but I've been put off of his work after reading that's he's probably plagiarised another writer's script for a film he was going to get loads of cash for. Of course, I read that in a newspaper, and they're not the most trustworthy of sources. That was about six months ago.

I think the novel I'm most interested in though would be The Fencing Master.

Steve, there's a message for you on the Ookami forum, under Writer's Threads - hope you don't mind having your own.
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Nicholas Liu
Posted on Thursday, January 29, 2004 - 10:28 am:   

Jamie: >>'I have to say that "The Club Dumas" sounds much better to my ear, and since English is not all that picky about the placement of adjectives (viz. Captains Outrageous, rather than Outrageous Captains) I think that the US publishers made the right choice.'

But not 'Captains Navy' or 'Conductors Bus' or 'Unions Teachers'. . . or 'The Fan Club Britney', even. The Club Dumas sounds nice, but it's not a very natural translation of the original title.
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Martinus
Posted on Tuesday, April 13, 2004 - 06:05 am:   

Finished *The Fencing Master* yesterday. It was excellent, although I must confess that I like *The Dumas Club* better.

It was interesting to note that *The Fencing Master" is apparently his first novel. For a first novel, it was amazing.

I'm going to move on to *The Seville Communion* and *The Nautical Chart* in a couple of months or so.
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Mastadge
Posted on Tuesday, April 13, 2004 - 11:41 am:   

I thought The Flanders Panel was his fist novel. . .?
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nimbus
Posted on Tuesday, April 13, 2004 - 02:38 pm:   

Flanders Panel was his first in the states. Fencing Master was the first to be published way back when he started.

was wondering if anyone here can solve an arguement? we know about club dumas into ninth gate (awful), and the 1993/4? flanders panel into uncovered (very young kate beckinsale), but a friend mentioned that there is an upcoming film based on one of APR's books..

anyone know which one, casting, etc.?
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Mastadge
Posted on Tuesday, April 13, 2004 - 05:09 pm:   

Alatriste, starring Viggo Mortensen (LotR, Hidalgo) in the titular role, and Elena Anaya. Directed by Agustín Díaz Yanes.
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Neil A
Posted on Wednesday, April 14, 2004 - 06:40 am:   

Almost finished reading By The Sword, a history of swords, fencing, etc. by Richard Cohen. (A great book in itself, though perhaps a little dry in parts; it's much much more than a book just about swords though. There is a great dissection of Perez-Reverte's work included, and I think the author looks on him as something of a kindred spirit, philosophically speaking.)

Also, Rhys, if you're out there, I've been talking to someone who's read Perec's Life, A User's Guide in both English and French (she's working on translating bmy book into French - yay for her!) and thinks it lost a lot in the translation, so I guess I'm missing out there.

I'm trying to learn Spanish at the moment, so in a few years time might actually be able to read APR in the intended form - anyone out there able to compare the English versions of his work to the Spanish? Steve?
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GabrielM
Posted on Wednesday, April 14, 2004 - 12:06 pm:   

I typically read Perez Reverte in Spanish. I think he's a very entertaining writer but in terms of things like style / voice / language, I think he's fairly generic, so I doubt the translations are a problem. (I'd feel differently about, say, Javier Marias, another writer from Spain.)

Even though I don't read French I have always assumed translations of Perec's work can't fully convey the flavor of the original, given all the artifice, wordplay, etc.
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GabrielM
Posted on Wednesday, April 14, 2004 - 12:24 pm:   

ALATRISTE, btw, I have to assume is based on his Capitan Alatriste novels, which are a series of historical adventures featuring a swordsman during the Spanish Golden Age. They're fun and very clever, but to my knowledge have not been translated into English. And I'm not sure they would sell well, it's not a period of history with which most English speakers I know are terribly familiar. (As an example, literary figures like Lope de Vega, Calderon de la Barca and Quevedo make an appearance. If you don't know who these folks are, part of the fun of the book is lost.) And come to think of it, these APR book would actually be harder to translate, because he uses a lot of terminology from the period. I think I read somewhere they were translated into Dutch, which makes a certain amount of sense, given that the Netherlands were under Spanish dominion at the time of the events.
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Lucius
Posted on Wednesday, April 14, 2004 - 12:40 pm:   

I didn;t finish The Club Dumas -- the style didn't hold me. But I wouldn't mind seeing Viggo in a swordfighting movie. As for movies better than the books -- The Incredible Lightness of Being was an incredibly overrated book in my view....and a pretty good movie. I'd go along with the Hustler, Jaws, The Princess Bride, but Adaptation was, in my view, an embarrassment to all who participated and though I haven't read The Orchid Thief, I got to give it the nod sight unseen....

I think the most horrid adaptation of a book into movie was Robert Stone's Hall Of Mirrors into WUSA with Paul Newman, though I'm sure there are many contenders for this honor.
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Vlad Soare
Posted on Tuesday, January 04, 2005 - 05:44 am:   

Hi, guys.
I read The Club Dumas and there are a few things I didn't understand.

First, how did Borja obtain the correct words to summon the devil (SIC DEDO ME, etc.)? Where did he get them from? He should have obtained them from the engravings, but how? How did he interpret the pictures?

Second, where and when do the differences between the engravings come through? What difference does it make whether the monk has the keys in his left or right hand? Or whether the man was hanged by his left or right foot? Or whether the chess board was white or black? And so on.
How did Borja use those differences? How did they help him find the correct words?

Third, Irene says that she was there to protect Corso and to make sure he walks the path safely (I'm sorry if I didn't quote it exactly; I read the book in my native language, not in English). But what was this path? We know that he finally succeeds, but we don't know (at least I don't) what exactly he did in order to succeed.
Was there any connection between the engravings and what Corso, more or less intentionally, did during the story?

Thank you.
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simon-hecubus
Posted on Thursday, April 07, 2005 - 08:46 am:   

Just call me Johnny-come-lately, but I'm with Jason (3rd post) on The Flanders Panel. The denoument of the novel was somewhat rushed, with the remaining pages afterword an annoyance. It was almost like something an editor had him tack on.

The rest of the book was fascinating though, and had me dusting off my old chess borad.

Scott

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