Friday, March 5, 2010

French Friday (16)

French Friday is a weekly feature hosted by Charlotte at the Book on the Hill. We both live in France, so French Friday is a meme to write about Frenchy bookish things.

So this week, I'm going to do a sort of Japanese French Friday (in lieu of some information that I will be announcing in the blog tomorrow). I'm presently reading a book called "Love and Pop" by Japanese author Ryu Murakami, about this weird form of prostitution that goes on in Japan between old men and high school/middle aged girls. It's quite good, but it's one of those books that I seem to be reading lately that for some reason or another wasn't translated into English. Or hasn't been yet.

Still, reading it got me to thinking about the different ways that the French covers interpret Japanese books and the way the English covers interpret them. The covers are almost always shockingly different. So this week, I thought we'd look at some of these covers.

We'll start with Ryu Murakami's most well known work by far, In the Miso Soup, or in French, Miso Soup.

The first two are the US covers and the last one is the French cover.

I feel like the US versions focus more on the psychotic nature of this book (it has been compared to American Psycho) whereas the French version focuses more on the weird, sexual aspects. What do you think?

Next we'll go to Haruki Murakami, one of my favorite authors, and we'll look at the covers not of his most famous work but of my favorite of his works: Hardboiled Wonderland and the End of the World, or in French, La fin des temps (The end of time).

Once again, I find them extremely different. The US version focuses on the dual nature of the story while the French one focuses more on the fantastical aspects.

Lastly, we'll look at Natsuo Kirino. I recently won his book called Out (in both French and English) but have yet to have the chance to read it. We'll look at that cover. There are several covers, but I have chosen the ones I've seen the most often.

US on the left, French on the right.

They're extremely different, and both have totally different feels for me. It's obviously a thriller. The French one, I think, makes it seem like it's going to be slightly violent, where as the US one makes it seem like we're going to delve into the psychotic nature of our narrator. I guess I'll find out.

So, what do you think of these differences? And would you have liked for me to also post the Japanese covers?

In the meantime, don't forget to check out Charlotte's French Friday at The Book on the Hill.


Tales of Whimsy said...

Edgy ;)

Sarah said...

I found this very interesting. Rather than my usual asinine reads and searches, it engaged to think. The book covers are indicative of social and cultural visual norms. Haruki Marakami covers are very clever. I think but do not know if there is more philosohpical message message which relates to the narrative(s). It would be interesting to the Japanese covers. Thanks for some thought for the day!

Lauren said...

This is fascinating. The only French cover I prefer is the one for La Fin Des Temps, although without reading the book it's hard to know which is most appropriate. I'm always intrigued when covers differ greatly in different countries. I'd kind of like to hear more from publishers about the thinking behind it.

Charlotte said...

They really are different. It's amazing. I actually love every single cover you posted. :) I would love to see the Japanese covers !

Liz @ Cleverly Inked said...

Dramatic difference

misskallie2000 said...

Well, all I have to say is the French cover looks like porn.. Of course I am over 50..LOL

misskallie2000 at yahoo dot com

vvb32 reads said...

i like the japanese theme here. and i like seeing all the ones you posted.

My Contests

None for now!