A proposito di bionde….
Ecco la prima recensione del mio romanzo “La matematica delle bionde”, che da questa settimana è disponibile anche in Inglese con il titolo “The Blonde Formula”. Sono molto felice. E sì, anche orgogliosa. E vi copio tutto l’articolo. Tanto lo so che voi, con l’Inglese, ci sapere fare…. A number of foreign language books also get locally translatedto English. One such book is Federica Brunini’s The Blonde Formula. The English translation by Becky d’Ugo is being launched at this year’s book festival. The light-fiction book, which d’Ugo believes will probably appeal more to women, features Marilyn Monroe, who enters the life of a gossip journalist called Camilla in a rather unorthodox manner. Camilla is on the verge of her 30th birthday and going through a rather rough patch; so Marilyn proceeds to give Camilla mostly uncalled for advice on everything from looks to ward-robe and sex appeal in a story that d’Ugo describes as “full of comedic twists”. “What I liked about the book is that Marilyn’s advice from the 1950s is still relevant to today’s woman,” d’Ugo says. “The book landed in my life through a series of the universe’s mysterious twists and turns. A friend of mine met the author, Federica, who in turn gave her a copy of her book. When my friend read it, it kept reminding her of me and she thought I should read it, so she lent it to me. She was right – I really enjoyed it. “Then, while at a beauty salon, I saw two armchairs: one with a cushion depicting Marilyn Monroe and the other, Audrey Hepburn, who also features in the book. I thought it was a fun coincidence, took a photo, and emailed it to my friend, who suggested I also send it to Federica, which I did, telling her how much I had liked her book. “Federica replied saying that of course she was thrilled to hear from someone who had enjoyed her book and then asked if I knew of anyone who could translate it into English, as this was something she had been meaning to do. And that’s where I stepped in…” D’Ugo says that translating the Italian context to the local one was one of the biggest challenges; this included turning Italian puns and jokes into something that would work just as well in English and often meant changing words or even names of characters. This included turning Italian puns into something that would work in English “For example, one of the characters is a sneaky office worker whom Camilla nicknamed as Matta Hari. I felt this had to be changed as the word ‘matta’ in English obviously does not have the significance it does in the Italian language, where it means ‘crazy’. It just looks like a typo. So, with Federica’s consent, I changed her name to Agent 006.9. “I felt that this still conveyed the significance of an office double-agent who is not quite all there. To keep the book true to its spirit, I kept certain elements of the Italian language in – an expression here and there for instance. Another of the characters is an Italo-American who, in the original text peppers, the Italian dialogue with English words. When translating his dialogue, I decided to reverse this and used (and sometimes misused) Italian words in his translated conversations, as I imagined an Italo-American fresh from the States would,” d’Ugo says. As for creative disagreements, these were less common than one would imagine; after the first three chapters were vetted for style and substance by author and original publisher, d’Ugo pretty much sailed ahead with the translation. “It helped that we were on the same page, as it were.” For Brunini herself, this is the first time that the work has been translated to English, although a Spanish version of the book is already available. The author, who is now based in Gozo, says that “relinquishing control” of her work was quite an experience. “In Italy we have this saying, tradurre è tradire, meaning that it is impossible to translate something literally. Something always gets lost or misunderstood, because language is not a question of words, but of culture. However, I was lucky – in my translator Becky I found my alter ego and we got through it, working hard while sipping champagne,” she adds with a grin. Brunini believes that the translation also worked well because the story’s characters, especially the main one, are international. “I’m a woman writing for other women, and we all speak the same language. Besides, I’ve chosen two icons, Audrey Hepburn and Marilyn Monroe, who still are symbols of everlasting femininity,” she says. The experience has been such a positive one that Brunini is keen to repeat it with future publications, in particular her upcoming novel, which revolves around the adven-tures of four women in their 40s. “I can’t wait to pass it on to Becky for translation,” Brunini says. www.federicabrunini.com