I think I’ve said this before, but maybe not here. I am hugely interested in my foreign language editions. I have surmised it is partly being Canadian, an awareness that literary success demands readers outside my own country, purely because of numbers. But I admit it is also a straight curiosity: I’m genuinely intrigued by how different books are received in different countries and cultures. The similarities and the differences, both. I say this about history, the past, too: how astonishingly different and startlingly similar it can be.
The first review for River of Stars appeared in China this week. In a way it doesn’t count: this was an English-language review of the original English book. It ran in ‘That’s Beijing’ and ‘That’s Shanghai’ magazines, their July editions. The Chinese translations of both Under Heaven and River of Stars won’t appear till later this year or next (not sure yet), and that will be a different measure. But for now, this was lovely:
I’ve also been busy with my Portuguese/Brazilian publisher, Saida de Emergencia, this week. They are releasing Tigana in Brazil, and requested a version of my Afterword adapted to that market, and then sent over an email interview. Good questions, not hard to address. I also sent them, on request, jpegs of a couple of the newer ‘truth in advertising’ author photos, too. The one we’ve been using is several years old by now. Of course I look exactly the same. (Only the glasses have changed. Twice.)
Then the translator for Brazil showed up with some questions. I like when this happens, I always make sure publishers know the translators are absolutely allowed to check in with me. Most of his first set of queries had to do with some names and terms I invented for that book. Often translators want to double-check they aren’t an obscure real word in English that they don’t know. Khav would be a very good actual drink for first thing in the morning, I always say – but it was invented, alas.