Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Lost in Transliteration


I finally finished the Poisonwood Bible, a very excellent book I have been reading for the past couple months. I really loved the actual writing; it took chances. The narrative or I should say narratives were gutsy. I'd never read a book with five different narrators ... I'd never read one with more than one.

It tells the story of a fierce and dogmatic Bapist preacher that drags his wife and four daugthers (who narrate the story in turn) to the Congo on a year long mission. The year is 1961, so they are caught in the middle of Congolese indepedence while there. In lieu of abandoning his mission because of the surrounding political unrest he remains. This would seem like a noble act if he wasn't such a bad missionary and parent.

It's a super book about the difficulties of translation. That we can't simply transliterate our euro-american words, our euro-american government, our euro-american economics, and our euro-american religion and expect it to have the same meaning and form everywhere and to everyone. I really recommend that y'all read it if you haven't.

4 comments:

Meg said...

I loved this book, too. I love everything by Barbara Kingsolver. This book began my trend of reading books set in Africa. I am glad that you read it and liked it. I read it a while ago but I still think about it sometimes. It was a lasting book.

Glenda said...

This book is one of my all time favorites. Nice review, Adam.

hooli said...

oK... now I need to re-read it. I loved it. But it's been so long. And your review makes it sounds so wonderful.

grandma GiGI said...

I read it sometime ago too. So good to have it recalled to my memory...I'd kinda forgotten about it.Yes, it is a great book!

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