We don’t translate much in this country. When we do, though, what we choose usually shows pretty decent promise, naturally. While I’ll always root for more translations, it’s hard not to appreciate at least occasionally the natural sieve of the choosiness of what United States publishers choose to translate. It can be nice not to wade through (much) dredge for decent contemporary novels. Juan Gabriel Vasquez’ The Informers, which tells of a small-scale familial conflict within one of a grander weaving, betraying history, is the best “new” book I’ve reviewed all year.
No, Basterds is not a Schindler’s List, a Thin Red Line, or a Casablanca. But we don’t need any more war movies like that. The emotional core, more tangible than in any of Tarantino’s other films, builds from and questions every single war movie that’s ever been made.