The Last Cato--Revisited by Carole

I just finished The Last Cato and posted my comment to Chris' earlier review.

The website Chris mentions is well done with lots of additional information on Dante, the Staurofilakes, and Cato. The concept of the story is brilliant, but I had issues with the writing. Below is the comment I posted to Chris' review:

Okay, many months later, I've finally had a chance to read The Last Cato. I loved the concept of the story, very clever, but I almost didn't finish this book. The writing just wasn't equal to the premise. While reading it, I re-read Chris' review, and it helped a bit to remember that this was a translation, but that only goes so far.

Numerous times throughout the book I felt that the word choices were just inappropriate--it was a huge distraction.

One thing that I initially liked about the book was that a nun was the main character, but then I started to get that sinking feeling that the book was going to annoy me--many times the only reason an author has a nun or a priest as a character is to have them break their vows or fall from grace. I always find that cheap and I'm ultimately disappointed.

Once the rhythm of the book was established--the characters move through the different challenges to pass the tests which will ultimately cleanse them of the seven deadly sins leading them to paradise on earth--I wanted it to hurry up already. By challenge 4 or 5, I wanted to speed through it to get to the end.

An interesting story that I wanted to be better than it was. I wish I could read it in its original Spanish to assess the true quality of the writing. That brings to mind another topic worthy of discussion--is it poor writing or poor translation? How many works have suffered because the translator lacked the skills needed to convey more than just the author's words?

1 comment:

Chris said...

I think the word choice problem is translation.

However, did you feel cheated about the actions of the nun at the end of the book? I thought each characters took the path that was most logical to her or him after their experiences.

I was pretty exhausted by the end of the book -- it felt long. Good, but long.