Monday, April 28, 2014
Reading Marion Bloem vs. Geert "Big" Mak
Which one is easier to read? It depends on how you measure difficulty. In linguistic terms, Marion Bloem is much easier. Her sentences are shorter, and her vocabulary is not nearly as complicated. Her writing is much more down to earth. Big Mak writes like a European academic. He does it well, but his sentences are extremely long.
In terms of content, Big Mak is much easier. He writes in a linear way. De eeuw van mijn vader was a straight time line. It was very easy to follow. Marion Bloem bounces around between legends, the war years and the present (1989). Combine that with the many characters, and it's very hard to keep track of what's going on. Slowly reading 1-3 pages at a time doesn't help.
Their translators should be different. Mak should be translated by a Brit with an academic background who writes well enough to have been published in magazines. Bloem's more terse prose could only be translated by an American. It moves fast. It is amazing, considering that she has spent so little time here.