Last Night at the Viper Room: Now in Russian

The website for the Russian edition of Rolling Stone has put up an excerpt from Last Night at the Viper Room (the chapter about the making of Stand by Me). I can’t speak to the quality of the translation, so I’m just going to¬† assume that it’s excellent. It’s cool and surreal to see my writing in Russian (especially considering that my freshman year of college, I made it about five weeks into a Russian class before my head exploded and I had to drop the course).

posted 29 October 2013 in Excerpts, Outside and tagged , , . 3 comments

3 Comments on Last Night at the Viper Room: Now in Russian

  1. Scraps Says:

    Isaac Asimov — born in Russia and spoke Russian as a very young child in East New York — as an adult tried to speak Russian from a book. His head also exploded (probably five weeks in), and he never learned.

  2. Gavin Says:

    At the time, it felt like a big setback–I had been at college a month or so, and I was dropping a double-credit class already. It turned out that this class had a huge attrition rate: by the end of the year, about two-thirds of the students had dropped it, and many congratulated me for getting out early.

    I’ve long wished that I was more adept at picking up foreign languages–I’ve always found it hard to do. (Not trying to restart the great Literature in Translation Well thrash of a few years back!) I’ve gotten good at learning a few phrases on my way to a new country and bluffing my way through with them, though. (If you can learn only one phrase, I suggest the local version of “I’m sorry.” Unexpected from Americans, and it goes a long way to papering over other problems.)

  3. Scraps Says:

    1. I never learned a foreign language. That makes me an American, but in my defense I’m ashamed of it. (Well, how about “disturbed”?)

    2. I wanted to learn Latin, but my high school — Catholic high school — Jesuit Catholic high school — didn’t offer it.

    3. I’ve actually never been to a non-English-speaking part of the world. (Unless my part of Brooklyn counts.)

    3a. (No it’s not Sunset Park! West of the cemetery, let alone northwest, is not Sunset Park. Ask anyone who lives there. It’s Greenwood Heights. Yes, I know no one knows the name except people who live there. [There is an older name, survived on old {mostly Polish} businesses, but I’ve forgotten the name.] Oh: call it South Park Slope and you die.)

    4. I think there’s only one person fiercely on the other side of the great Literature in Translation Well thrash — stet? I think his name was — but boy, ever since he had it in for me, like laughably. The most innocent opinions, he was there foaming. =shakes head= Oh, maybe also debbie? ANYway.

    4a. Oh, you said you were not trying to restart etc etc?

    5. “I’m sorry” is the best only one phrase to use in a foreign country; I’ll keep it in mind in case I do go. Better than “Excuse me?”

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