Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Just a quick note to keep things going

I've been reading Mika Waltari's Turms, kuolematon (1955) that was translated as The Etruscan in English.

If you have patience enough for a 700-page novel and a taste for grand adventure, grab it: there are some really good battle scenes and even some sword and sorceryish moments. The prose is clearly better than in Waltari's The Egyptian which I found overwritten. The book is situated in 400 B.C. and the lead character is Turms, a man believed to have supernatural powers, who sets a temple on fire and has to flee and gets involved in piracy in the Mediterranean Sea and fights off some bad-ass Carthageans. (Is that how it's written?) There are also some long, philosophical moments, but then again you can't have everything.

There seems to have been a Pocket Book edition of The Etruscan, which is abridged. For all I know, shortening the book may've done good to it, since I also find it too long and a bit formless in places (at times it's perfectly clear that Waltari didn't do much revising). The hardcover copies of the translation (by Putnam?) seem to be pricey.

I've also been reading some pretty ephemeral stuff by Waltari, such as his unpublished plays and non-fiction he wrote for hire, but I think my coming book will have to do on those.

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