The Whispering City by Sara Moliner, translated by Mara Faye Lethem


The Whispering City - Sara Moliner, Mara Faye LethemWhile many elements of the book follow a familiar pattern, it’s still a great read. We have the reporter who thinks the cops are doing a rotten job of investigating the murder she’s been sent to report on and gets herself in over her head and so on. There was something nice about the familiarity of the plot structure because that was where my familiarity with it ended. The book is set in Barcelona in 1952, so the culture and the government and the markers of the time were all fairly foreign and made this familiar plot structure far more fun than it has been in a long time. Plus, the way it ended was not what I expected. It’s not the way it would have ended if it had been written for US audiences, I’ll tell you that much without spoiling it.

This is part of what’s fun about reading women in translation, what may seem familiar is taken to new places.

The narrator, Roxanne Hernandez, was amazing, doing a great job of pronouncing all the Spanish names while falling back out of the accent they require in the very next word and just carrying on. I can get by on some Spanish and even do a decent accent sometimes, but I can’t transition that quickly and it didn’t seem cut together. So it’s the narrator or the editor, but I’m going to give credit to the narrator until informed otherwise.

The only hitch in my translation was the inclusion of the word “monger” when talking about gossips. It wasn’t misused, but it struck me as out of place due to that we don’t use it much in the US. Not that the US is the end-all, be-all of how to speak in English. It was just interesting and strange to me.

I really enjoyed this book and would definitely recommend it to anyone who enjoys historical fiction!


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