Today I was reading my feeds and came across an article in the Guardian about Faiza Guene.
I read and enjoyed her first novel, Just Like Tomorrow (or Kiffe Kiffe Demain in the original French) and was happy to hear that she’s written another: Dreams from the Endz. It’s already on my BookMooch wishlist.
Just Like Tomorrow is set in a neighbourhood only really known of outside of France for the riots in 2005. But because of how matter of fact and upbeat the narrator is about the failings in the school system and the employment system, all of the problems that may have been factors in those riots seem diluted and everyday.
I suppose that’s the point. This is everyday life for everyone in the novel. Things are what they are: same s*** different day.
As well as an upbeat book Just Like Tomorrow is a very humorous book, full of quirky descriptions of characters and generally quite clever with words. A lot of this came from the youthful style and slang terms, though occasionally the slang in the English version jarred with me a little. This made me wonder how much was lost in translation, whether the French read with verlan (or backslang) in it was a more fitting/nuanced/friction-filled.
Reading a novel that’s been translated from another language is always interesting for me, I always wonder if I’m missing something. Effectively it’s not the same book – having been filtered through another consciousness. I was quite happy to see that the same woman has translated Dreams from the Endz and Just Like Tomorrow. I like the idea of there being a continuity. Though one of my favourite authors, Haruki Murikami, has two translators – and I’ve never overly noticed the difference between the two. So perhaps I’m assigning too much importance to it.