Wednesday, 5 March 2014

Tidal Shift by Dora Heldt

“Tidal Shift” is a German novel translated into English. This was one of the best-selling titles of 2010 in Germany. It spent 57 weeks on the hardcover best-seller list and 31 weeks on the paperback list. However the translation here seems to have diminished the impact of the English version. I feel the situations could have drawn more humour. And also the translation isn't great. For example instead of toyboy the book says boy toys, and instead of “touch wood” the book uses the translation “knock on wood”. So I think the humour that is present here in the book could have come out more with a better translation. Also this is an American English translation too, with soccer instead of football, pants instead of trousers, and I would have preferred a British English translation of course.

The book follows the family of Christine, 46, who is going for a 2-week vacation with her boyfriend Johann, 48, in the German resort of Sylt, “renowned for it’s breath-taking twenty-five-mile-long sandy beach”. They quickly meet Aunt Inge, 64 – “Aren’t you two a bit old for canoodling in public like that?” – who says she wants to change her life, but is being secretive about what exactly she means, which worries Christine. But at the same time Christine is resistant to change herself - “Don’t take the risk of doing something new. You’re far too old for that. Heaven forbid that things could actually go your way in life. So just leave it to everyone else to make changes. Like your aunt Inge – at least she’s got the guts!” So maybe this is another contributor to her anxiety. 

Meanwhile with aunt Inge being secretive it leads the whole family to conclude the wrong things, leading to comical misunderstandings. Heinz, Charlotte’s dad, Walter, aunt Inge’s husband, and Kalli, a friend of Heinz’s, are three OAPs that go on capers similar to those from “Last of the Summer Wine” as they search for answers, and the so-called toyboy.

Overall then a humourous story, but I think the translation could have been better. 

Publication date: 23 May 2013

Amazon UK link: TIDAL SHIFT

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