It is criminal of the French publisher to release Akunin's short stories and novellas, mediocre at best, in three separate volumes. Having now read thIt is criminal of the French publisher to release Akunin's short stories and novellas, mediocre at best, in three separate volumes. Having now read them all, they're not worth the money one book would cost.
Both Akunin as a writer and Fandorin as a character are better suited to the long format (and it's no coincidence that the best books in the series are the longest).
These three stories, specifically, are:
- a useless little adventure in a Japanese cemetery; - the origin story of Fandorin's omnipresent jade rosary, which I found, to be honest, a bit of a disappointment; - an insane novella about Fandorin in the Far West. Like, no, Akunin. Fandorin should stay in Russia. You should stay in Russia, that's where you're at your best. Cowboys and saloons are not what I read your books for....more
La traduzione a questa edizione è a dir poco penosa: oltre ai soliti refusi (neanche tanti a dire il vero), i nomi tradotti in italiano, compresi tuttLa traduzione a questa edizione è a dir poco penosa: oltre ai soliti refusi (neanche tanti a dire il vero), i nomi tradotti in italiano, compresi tutti quelli delle vie, delle piazze, delle chiese e così via, laddove possibili; consecutio temporum che fa acqua da tutte le parti perché sceglie (?) di tradurre il condizionale presente del francese col condizionale presente dell'italiano; toscanismi come se piovesse; ho già detto che i nomi sono tradotti in italiano e quindi invece che di Jean Valjean, uno dei personaggi più famosi della letteratura mondiale, vi ritrovate a leggere di un certo Giovanni, insieme a Mario, Cosetta, Fantina (!) ed Eponina? Grazie al cielo non gli è venuto in mente di inventarsi qualcosa per Gavroche.
Penso che la Bur, non volendo scucire per ritradurre questo libro (che va benissimo, non sono una che si straccia le vesti per una traduzione vecchia), dovrebbe perlomeno rinfrescarla per quanto riguarda certe scelte che saltano all'occhio e interrompono lo scorrere della lettura. ...more
I think this might just be the worst book Akunin has written. It's definitely the worst Fandorin novel, and I didn't think it was possible to surpass sI think this might just be the worst book Akunin has written. It's definitely the worst Fandorin novel, and I didn't think it was possible to surpass such boring exploits as "He, Lover of Death" or "Leviathan".
The mystery part is poor at best, not one of the characters involved in the theatre company is well developed and I couldn't differentiate between them; the ending is more absurd than usual but not even Fandorin, let alone Akunin, cared about the resolution, so it felt like an afterthought.
But the big problem here is the protagonist, who seems extremely changed from the previous books. Mid-life crisis is a bitch: he spends the whole book acting alternatively like a teenager and an old creep who lusts over a woman thirty-six years his junior while constantly undermining her as a person, and thinking about how her profession (she's an actress) makes her false, voluble, untrustworthy; and even towards the end he doesn't trust her fully when she shows her feelings, because she's probably being melodramatic, as actresses (and women) are. The rest of the time he seems to have lost his intelligence and, while trying to solve the case, makes a bunch of stupid mistakes he woulnd't have made when he was 20 (and I'm honestly starting to think that he was at his most mature when he went to war at 22).
Fandorin has been in love before; he's acted ridiculous before (and there's always been a bit of benevolent misogyny in his behaviour and thoughts), but never in such a way: it was sad and irritating to see such a great character end up like this. The women in Erast Petrovich's life have never been a strong point of Akunin's writing: they're very often sterotypes (like Esfir from The State Counsellor), barely there (Ariadna Arkadevna from The Death of Achilles) or underdeveloped (like Angelina and many others); the only exception, in my opinion, is Ksenia Georgevna Romanova from The Coronation who, although she appeared rather briefly, was written as a thoughtful, mature young woman navigating contrasting feelings in an extremely stressful situation. But the best female character he's written in this series is definitely Needle from The State Counsellor, and I think there's a connection between the fact that she's a great character and the fact that she doesn't interact directly with Fandorin.
Here Eliza, who we're supposed to believe is Fandorin's second great love, is so badly written (apart from being incredibly self-centered and shallow she makes a bunch of idiotic decisions throughout the book) that it was impossible for me to root for her and Fandorin. Instead I hated every single page that was devoted to their relationship and especially those written from her point of view; their whole love story was a "tell, don't show" fest: they keep saying how much they are in love, how much they're confused by their feelings etc. etc., but as reader I never saw this love in their interactions.
Another thing that was irritating is the setting: it's 19-fucking-11 and Akunin, who's dealt in very interesting ways with major Russian history events in the past (the terrorists of the 1870s and 1880s, the espionage side of the war with Japan, etc.), finds nothing better to do than spend all the time inside a theatre with a bunch of self-obsessed assholes and a murder plot that makes no sense whatsoever.
So, awful. Really really awful, especially because I usually love this author and this character. It's a bitter disappointment, given that we're in the home stretch of the series.
The less said about how it all sounds in French, the better....more