Wednesday, 5 March 2008

Book Review: Mari Jungstedt's Unseen

I arrived late on the Scandinavian Crime Scene!

My first book was a copy of Henning Mankell's Firewall which I received as a Christmas present over a year ago. Since then i have read some more and recently got the chance to read Mari Jungstedt's first novel set on the Island of Gotland.

First Impressions?

Well I have a problem with the translation. This problem surfaces at several levels. The first is the fact that an “american” english often grates with my “british” english ear. In a couple of places the translator's choice of words leaves a british reader reaching for a dictionary as she chooses rather singular american words when other “bi-lingual” options were available. On another level, her translation is simply unbelievable; “tomorrow was national commemoration day” er, what... that had Katarina choke on her cereal when she read it. Its called National Day. “I'm going to the state liquor store...” OK so the Systembolaget, is state run, but other translators manage to say “the off licence, the alcohol shop, etc”. The third level of translation errors is one which I missed but Katarina (obviously) didn't. These were mistakes translating places (i.e. mistaking an “en” ending for an article, etc.)

The Plot/story?

Whilst it drew me in and I enjoyed it I thought that there were some major problems with the believability of the story in places (spoiler alert). I'm sorry but if I saw pictures of people who had been murdered on TV, who I had been to school with I think I would recognise them and start to put things together a little sooner.

Having said that I thought it was well written and it drew me in. I would definitely read the next book in the series.

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