This post can be considered The Mystery Guest part 1.5 because these thoughts were triggered by my frustration with the translation of the story from French.
In which I TRY to explain my reading style:
When I read a piece of fiction, it's being read in two ways at once. Of course, I'm forming an overall impression of the narrative and whether it leaves a good or bad taste in my mouth. But I'm also picking apart the minutiae, finding fault or excellence in the details; macro-reading vs. micro-reading.
What I can't decide is if the two are independent of one another or interdependent - because I can love the plot, characters, and themes of a story and think it clever while taking issue with its mechanics. Conversely, exemplary, deliberate writing can, for me, render nearly ANYTHING enjoyable.
I may criticize elements of a book severely, and finish it with a positive impression - which brings me again to The Mystery Guest and why (micro and macro) reading in French seems a Herculean task. I'll outline my individual charges in my next post on the book, but the English translation is becoming a larger and larger issue by the page.
Because I know just how finite my grasp of my native language (English) is, I can't possibly be satisfied with reading in French. Even if I understand each French word I read (and I'm not there yet - I don't dare read even in English without a dictionary at my side) there are still nuances and intentions that elude me completely. French syntax, pronouns when used as objects/direct objects especially, is another beast I have yet to conquer - and it clouds my comprehension.
So I'm stuck with an unsatisfactory English translation and what I can LITERALLY garner from the original text. In my next post, I'll have specific examples of what I mean - outside of the idioms with which I've already taken issue.
Micro-reading in French is out of the question for me at this point, and will be a long time coming...
But I shall soldier on and finish this book (that I LIKE so far, though it may be hard to tell).