Dear blog followers;
I have had quite a time this July in trying to get my hands on a copy of the Swiss Family Robinson in the original German. I speak German. The Swiss Family Robinson was actually written by a Swiss pastor, Johann David Wyss, in 1812, and it was one of my favorite movies as a child (not to mention a favorite place at Tokyo Disneyland!). So I thought…why not?
1) Amazon.de and Amazon.com suck if you want to buy a book in another language. It’s impossible. I got so irritated I almost Facebooked my friend Coco and asked her to email her mother in Ludwigsberg, Germany, to buy me a copy…but Coco is living in England and…yeah. I didn’t.
2) I finally found a used copy on a different website but it was $26.
3) I gave up and ordered a copy for 5 cents through Amazon. Shipping was $5.95.
4) It arrived amid great rejoicing…UNTIL…GUESS WHAT…I saw the dreaded letters marching across the front of what I must say is a hideous hardback cover from the 1970s…ABRIDGED. Grrrrrrrr!
5) Step Five should really have been step Three or possibly even Step One. I strolled over to Spokane’s fabulous indie bookstore, Auntie’s, and picked up a trade paperback for $7.99. 553 pages.
6) Let the reading begin!
As disappointing as it is to not be reading this book in its original language I still have a chance at Germany and Austria, neither of which have I done so far…and anyway, this book MIGHT have been in Sweetzer-Deutsch anyway, which is a dialect of German which Germans say is completely unintelligible to them. Well, my Bavarian host father said it in 1987 while watching the Calgary Olympics on Swiss TV. (Note, he was still watching it!)
My only observation so far is that the characters seem to have a callous attitude toward the animals they encounter, even the dogs, but I guess that’s to be expected from people 200 years ago. Most people.