Due to several mentions on this board about the Edelstein-Trilogie, I have recently picked up "Rubinrot" by Kerstin Gier (in German, special ordered!). So far, the book seems quite good; I'm intrigued by the concept and the writing is uncomplicated. However, I have this nagging in the back of my head that's starting to ruin the book for me.
I specifically sought out books by German authors so I'd be reading the Originalausgabe and not a translation. But, the book takes place in England. All the characters are technically speaking English, but it's presented to us in German. As a result, I'm having trouble immersing myself in the story.
I find myself thinking, "A native English speaker would have never drawn that comparison, or described it that way."
Example: The narrator is talking about how clumsy she is at the lunch table. Every day she gets food on her outfit or knocks something over. One day, she knocked over her Kirschsaft, and everyone who sat at her table looked like they had the measles for the rest of the day. I quite honestly had to google the measles to see what that would look like. I can only assume that everyone was covered in flecks of red juice, making it look like they had a rash. The comparison I would have drawn would have been to the chicken pox. But, the measles?? (And while I'm thinking about it, can't you just wipe juice off your skin? So the issue would be stained clothing for the rest of the day, so maybe the better comparison would have even been to say everyone looked like they'd been at the scene of a crime. But.. measles??)
Even with the dialogue, I am often bothered by constructions that just read as being very German. One boy is justifying an answer on his history exam, where he wrote that Queen Elisabeth I. was "so krass häßlich" that everyone called her "die häßliche Jungfrau" by saying:
"Ey, die Glupschaugen, der verkniffene Mund und voll die bescheuerte Frisur."
While I can get behind the author's effort to portray Jugendsprache, this sentence screams German Jugendlicher and not British private school class clown.
I've read books by authors whose languages I don't speak -- for example, I recently read "The Unbearable Lightness of Being" by Milan Kundera (native language: Czech). The book was written in English, but takes place in Czechoslovkia and the characters are, genau genommen, speaking Czech. I wasn't bothered while reading by any of this.
This leads me to the conclusion that it's dependent on the fact that I speak both German and English. And, more specifically, I'm only experiencing it when reading an Originalausgabe. If it's a translation of German literature (I read "Siddhartha" in English with no issues), there doesn't seem to be a problem.
Do other LEOs experience similar interference while reading novels that blur the boundaries of your primary languages?