Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Top ten books in second languages

Dan Vyleta is the son of Czech refugees who emigrated to Germany in the late 1960s. After growing up in Germany, he left to attend university in the UK where he completed a Ph.D. in History at King’s College, University of Cambridge. He now calls Canada his home.

His debut novel Pavel & I has gathered international acclaim and has been published in thirteen countries, and translated into eight languages.

His second novel, The Quiet Twin, was published by Bloomsbury and Harper Collins in February 2011.

At the Guardian he named a top ten list of books written a second language. One novel on the list:
Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov

Nabokov is not the most perfect example of an exophonic writer – he learned English as a young child, from his parents and tutors, and reputedly was able to write in English before he could write in Russian – but Lolita is simply too good a book to be left out. Opening with what may be the best paragraph written in the English language ("Lolita, life of my life, fire of my loins."), it features a Lynchean journey through an America made up of highways, anonymous motels, and tennis courts. That and a paedophile's confession of a murder. Unforgettable.
Read about another book on Vyleta's list.

Lolita appears among Rowan Somerville's top ten books of good sex in fiction, Henry Sutton's top ten unreliable narrators, Adam Leith Gollner's top ten fruit scenes in literature, Laura Hird's literary top ten, Monica Ali's ten favorite books, Laura Lippman's 5 most important books, Mohsin Hamid's 10 favorite books, and Dani Shapiro's 10 favorite books.

--Marshal Zeringue