|About the Book|
The actual title for this weeks book review is Rend mig i traditionerne. Its a Danish classic, originally published in 1958, which I had to keep reminding myself of, because honestly, Id keep forgetting, because the mindset is so like today. This is one thing that continues to amaze me, it really is true, nothing ever changes under the sun. We are dealing with the same major issues, the same thoughts and ideas, as always. Yes, technology changes, fashion changes, work changes, housing changes etc. etc., but the feelings, the thoughts and the ideas, the problems and issues are always the same.Okay, moving on, the official name of the book in English is Kick Me in the Traditions, but I feel thats too literal a translation. Rend mig is a more polite way of saying f you (we have nothing quite as harsh as that in Danish), so I guess its really more like screw you. However, the way it is said, it has me as the object, rather than you, the way it is in English. This is when translating idioms and sayings can get really difficult. Personally, Id probably translate the title more along the lines of Screw the traditions, as I feel thats closer to the original meaning, but thats neither here nor there.So, I read Kick me in the traditions in Danish, as I always prefer to read a book in its original language, as long as I understand it of course. Id love to read a couple of translations of Danish books, just to see how close they stay to the original meaning. I think Ill do a separate post soon on reading books in Danish and English, the importance of translations etc.The book takes place in the 1950s, and is the story of the high school student Daniel, whos upper class, spoiled and very confused and unhappy. Hes unhappy, he feels like hes carrying a nuclear bomb in his stomach, and that no one understands him, and hes very cross with everyone. One day he snaps, and he starts running, and then biting people in their legs - even the ones he like, especially the people he like. The authorities stop him, and get him places in a sanatorium, and this is where hes telling his story, to another deaf patient.I liked the honesty of the novel, how refreshing it was (probably especially at the time). I dont think it wouldve become a classic today, because were quite used to this kind of writing now, at least here in Denmark, but I can see why it is a classic, and how it mustve just shook everything up back in the 1950s. Its a break with tradition, societal norms, and a big fat question mark and why should I bother to everything that is normal and just because thats how its always been.If you can find an English translation, I do recommend it, its a short read, its entertaining, and its refreshing.