Monday, June 20, 2011

Reader's Diary #723- Daniachew Worku: The Voice

Anyone following my Short Story Monday posts over recent weeks will know that I have been thoroughly enjoying an exploration of online African short stories, thanks to links provided by the Woyingi Blog. Unfortunately, my appreciation comes to a screeching halt with Ethiopia's Daniachew Worku. However, I suspect Worku is not to blame. "The Voice" (not affiliated with the Christina Aguilera/ Cee-lo Green reality program), is found at "Adefris.Info" a site dedicated to the late Ethiopian playwright, author, and critic. The problem, I suspect, is one of translation. Worku sometimes wrote in English and Amharic, and I suspect the Adefris site author is more comfortable with Amharic. So, between typos and spelling mistakes, run-on sentences and just general awkwardness, "The Voice" reads like a poorly translated story and is difficult to get into. It should be intriguing enough; it's about a young male servant who is loved by some of the older female servants and raped by the others, and always sworn to secrecy-- the result of which leads him to just about lose his voice altogether. He grows into a man, gets married to his mistress's daughter with whom he develops a very unhealthy relationship, and finally he is pushed to talk. The result is not pretty.

I imagine that in the original language (and again, I only assume it was originally written in Amharic), it would be more thought provoking. There seems to be an attempt to make the voice and the soul synonymous, and I wish it was better realized. Perhaps in a better translation it would be.

(Did you write a post for Short Story Monday? If so, please leave a link in the comments below.)


Teddy Rose said...

"So, between typos and spelling mistakes, run-on sentences and just general awkwardness"

That's too bad, the premise you describe sound interesting. I am not going to read it though because I would have trouble getting past all the negatives.

I read about Jhumpa Lahiri:

Julie @ Read Handed said...

Translations can be tough if not done well. If only I could read every language I could always read works in the way each author intended. Oh well. My post today is a James Thurber (very) short story.

Barbara Bruederlin said...

Longest sentences ever! That was not exactly a compelling story to read.

SuziQoregon said...

Oh no! sorry the poor translation made this one so difficult.

Today I'm visiting with Miss Marple again.

Anonymous said...

I think I'll stay away from this one.
I've been looking at some myths and legends from Nunavut this week:


Loni said...

It's terrible when bad translation ruins what aught to be a great story.

No such problems for me this week. I'm exploring a new author and I really want to know what other people think of the story.