Inkheart

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Continuing in my goal of reading a book a week, this week's book was Inkheart, by Cornelia Funke. I bought a number of young adult books a few years ago, including Inkheart and its sequels Inkspell and Inkdeath, because I'm a sucker for multi-book stories. Funke wrote the Thief Lord, which Mom gave me and I read a while ago - it's an okay a book, not a great one. I kinda forgot about that when I started reading Inkheart, by the same author. Funke is a German writer, which means when reading her books, the nuances and delights, the cadence and the rhythym of her words and the original writings are often lost in translation.

Inkheart is similar in that the odd writing cadence of the Thief Lord: it isn't quite right. Inkheart is, however, an enjoyable tale, internally consistent with enough twists and revelations to be interesting, but the cadence of the writing is a little off. I'm not sure if it's the translation or Funke's writing style.

Inkheart is the story of a bookbinder's daughter (Wait, bookbinders still exist? Wait more, there are people who love books even more than I do?), whose mother disappeared years before (nine to be exact), when her father accidentally read her into a book while reading a character out of said book. There's a (nominally) one-to-one correspondence / exchange of characters in this reading of characters, so when one being comes out of the book, another being needs to go into the story. This talent of being able to read characters out of a book is a talent that earned the bookbinder both the name Silvertongue and years on the run with his daughter to avoid the characters he brought from fantasy to life by his reading.

Inkheart was made into a movie three years ago. Having half-watched said movie and knowing nominally what the plot is (wow, was Brendan Fraser miscast as Mortimer Folchart, the bookbinder dad and one of two main characters in the story), I have to say I both zoomed through the book (I know that, know that, know that, too) and lingered in the book (oh, they removed that in the movie, that's unfortunate they removed this other, too). As is typical, the book is more enjoyable and makes more sense, while the movie is good for mindless entertainment.

Yeah, so, I enjoyed the book somewhat. I'll read the next two books, mostly because I have them. We'll see. I'm sorta blah on this book as far as writing styles and plot lines go. It's fine for 9 years old and above (it has an accurate recommended reading age, in terms of sensitive issues (death, violence, sex, adult themes, etc.), which is to say, the bad stuff is mostly hinted at and the story has a happy ending).

Comments

Hi!
My name is Miriam and I'm from Germany. I happened to find this page because I tried to find some criticism on the English translation of "Tintenherz" (Inkheart). I'm studying English and I'm about to write a term paper concerning Inkheart.
I just wanted to assure you that Anthea Bell, the translator, certainly did mess up the style of writing Cornelia Funke has. I loved this book when I first read it (in German) as a fourteen-year old, however I find the English version extremely annoying and really have to force myself to read it, which hardly ever happens to me with English books.
By the way, I think your "project" to read one book every week is a great idea! Once I get more time, I'll try that :)

Miriam

Hi, Miriam!

I'm very glad to hear that, both that the translation is the difficulty, and that the German version is good. I'll have to try the German version when I, too, get more time. :)

Kitt.