Friday, March 9, 2012

Book Review: Lamberto, Lamberto, Lamberto by Gianni Rodari

Lamberto, Lamberto, Lamberto is an Italian fable that has been popular in the country for years.  It is the story of an old man, Lamberto, who discovers the secret to life is having his name spoken repeatedly.  He hires a team of employees to constantly speak his name and quickly rediscovers his youth and vitality.  But his nephew, eager to inherit his fortune, wants to discover his secret.  Not only that, but his island villa is taken hostage by a team of terrorists with bizarre demands.

It's really hard for me to evaluate the writing of a work in translation when I don't speak the original language the book was written in.  I feel like it's difficult to say whether or not Rodari was a good author when I'm actually evaluating the translation (in this case, done by Antony Shugaar).  Regardless of that hesitation however, this edition of the book is charming.  There weren't moments of awkward language use or portions that were difficult to understand, so the translation was obviously done well.  And I was thoroughly impressed by the intricacy of the story.

Entertainment Value
Adorable.  It's pretty short and has precious illustrations, so it won't take you long to read.  I read it in just a couple of hours during breaks at work.  It's an interesting story and, with all the new imaginings of fairytales that are so popular right now, I think this one fits right in.  It's a take on fable-telling that I haven't heard before, with that "universal truth" feeling behind it, but with a more modern take. 

I recommend giving it a try, especially if you're into children's literature or fables or are enjoying all of the current updated fairytale stories.

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher, Melville House, for providing a copy for me to review.

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