Saturday, 18 June 2011

Ladino review

I mentioned here a few days ago that one of our books had been reviewed in a Catalan and Romani journal. Collectors of small languages will be pleased that our The Chaste Wife is reviewed in the current issue of Aki Yerushalayim, revista kulturala Djudeo-Espanyola. I can't help but feel that Elia Karmona's book (translated by Michael Alpert) should have had more attention as there are barely a handful of Ladino-related books published in Britain. The book includes a long introduction by the translator on Ladino literature. Ladino? The language spoken by the descendants of those Jews expelled from Spain in 1492, just holding on in Turkey and Israel and a few other places, spoken mostly by an ageing and decreasing number of people. Despite that the journal lists six other periodicals in Ladino, five dedicated websites, thirteen organisations and two radio programmes. Not bad for a language spoken by, what?, 20,000 people. As outlined in the introduction, Ladino has a weak literature tradition with books mostly being translated into Ladino rather than originating in the language. This is in marked contrast to the song writing tradition - as Ladino music is listened to all over the world.

The review itself is written in Roman script (as is the Ladino part of our book) rather than Hebrew or the Rashi script that Ladino was more traditionally written in - now that was a good way of securing its difficulties in continuity. Anyway, here's a section of the review:

The Chaste Wife... La Mujer Onesta es un livro ke puede ser meldado kon plazer i intereso no solo mar la majen ke mos da de este kampo del la kreation en ladino sino ke tambien por los komentarios del Dr Alpert sovre el estilo i el nivel literatario de este roman i las razones ke se topan al la baza sus karakteristikas, o sea la mizura en la kuala estos romanes bushkavan a responder a la demanda del publiko de lektores djudeo-espanyoles de fin del siglo 12 - prinsipios del siglo 20.

No comments: