Chocolate Caliente, Por Favor

If you limit your reading to contemporary bookclub novels, you may not experience the speed bumps caused by passages and words rendered in the original language (VO) and not in comfortable English. However, my experience suggests that even a limited advance into canonical literature or the wide-world of global writing will assuredly trip-up a reader with a passage in a strange language or a latinate phrase every lawyer or botanist knows, or an awkward translation that demands comparison to the original language.

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XFX: Eric Chevillard

A few years back I read a little novel by Eric Chevillard called On the Ceiling (Au plafond) which told the story of a young couple living with the parents who see that there is no longer any room for all the people in the home so the young couple moves to the top side of the house and takes up residence on the ceiling. I remember being fascinated by the imagination of this new French writer and immediately ordered many of his other titles; unfortunately, Au plafond was the only one at that time which was translated into English.

The current list of Chevillard’s work is still mainly in French but a few titles have been translated. Here is the list from Wikipedia:

  • Mourir m’enrhume, Minuit, 1987.
  • Le démarcheur, Minuit, 1989.
  • Palafox, Minuit, 1990. (Palafox)
  • Le caoutchouc décidément, Minuit, 1992.
  • La nébuleuse du crabe, Minuit, 1993. (Fénéon Prize) (The Crab Nebula)
  • Préhistoire, Minuit, 1994.
  • Un fantôme, Minuit, 1995.
  • Au plafond, Minuit, 1997. (On the Ceiling)
  • L’œuvre posthume de Thomas Pilaster, Minuit, 1999.
  • Les absences du capitaine Cook, Minuit, 2001.
  • Du hérisson, Minuit, 2002.
  • Le vaillant petit tailleur, Minuit, 2004. (Wepler Prize)
  • Scalps, Fata Morgana, 2005.
  • Oreille rouge, Minuit, 2005.
  • D’attaque, Argol, 2006.
  • Démolir Nisard, Minuit, 2006. (Roger Caillois Prize)
  • Commentaire autorisé sur l’état de squelette, Fata Morgana, 2007.
  • Sans l’orang-outan, Minuit, 2007.
  • Dans la zone d’activité, graphisme par Fanette Mellier, Dissonances, 2007.
  • L’autofictif, L’Arbre Vengeur, 2009.
  • En territoire Cheyenne, Fata Morgana, illustrations de Philippe Favier, mai 2009.
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