If you’re not a parent–or it’s been a while since you had a baby–you may not know that SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome or, formerly, crib death) is a Big Deal in the pediatric world these days. We were barraged with warnings when our daughter was born earlier this year: put your baby to sleep on her back (not tummy); no blankets, pillows, or stuffed toys in the crib; don’t sleep with your child in your bed; don’t let your child get too warm while sleeping. It’s enough to make a new mom paranoid–of course, it doesn’t take much!
So when I saw that Abu-Jaber’s new novel dealt with SIDS cases, eager as I was to pick up another work by the author of Crescent, I wondered whether I should read it. Would it just increase my anxieties? But I reassured myself that, based on the fact that this is a crime mystery, the infants probably didn’t really die of SIDS. But then, who would want to kill a baby? Continue reading
My husband and I read The Turkish Gambit (by Boris Akunin, trans. Andrew Bromfield) either early last year or the year before–it’s a bit fuzzy in my memory. This is at least in part because I had difficulty following the plot, though it may have been unremarkable for other reasons, too. The translation style adopted by Bromfield, who has translated all the Akunin novels currently available in English, is quite smooth; it would be easy to read the books without realizing they are translated. Only a humorous reference to “American Roulette” in the beginning of The Winter Queen betrays the book’s Russian origins. Perhaps Bromfield’s aim was to present English-speaking readers with a good intrigue rather than a markedly Russian novel. This might be more appropriate with Akunin than with, say, The Master and Margarita, which Bromfield has also translated. (I have read the book, but not Akunin’s translation.) I would be interested in hearing from Russian readers of the original text of Akunin’s novels. Continue reading