I have always assumed I simply don’t like to read in Slovak.
But now that I have read the Slovak translation of Normal People I think something else is going on.
Slovak literature is… annoying.
Almost every Slovak novel I’ve had in my hands was very much lacking when it comes to plot and structure.
I got the impression the Slovak idea of writing a novel is to use as many obscure words and synonyms as possible. Probably to make up for the general lack of imagination.
It’s my personal opinion that the more a writer is trying to impress with style and word choice the less he or she has to say.
I have yet to discover the first Slovak novel that really speaks to me.
Normal People isn’t brilliant literature, but the characters grow, everything fits together. The writer has created a world that is inviting and feels real. In my humble opinion most of the Slovak novels I have tried eventually fail at this.
There are two books I have enjoyed reading in Slovak and both were translations.
The other one was The Reader by Schlink.
I haven’t give up on Slovak literature though. I will keep trying to find something good.
Part of the trouble is that none of the Slovaks I know, not even the well-read ones, read Slovak novels, especially not any contemporary ones.