What's the best novel in your language?

What’s do you think is the best novel in your language? I don’t mean the one you’re supposed to like; I mean the one you really like.

Hi Jamie (K) - what does the K stand for by the way? Are we talking about novels that were originally written in my native language or translated into my native language? If the former is the case I will have to think about the question for a while…

The only Nobel Price winner from my country is Ivo Andric. HIs books have been translated in english and many other foriegn languages, and i my opinion is that his novels and novels of Dostoevsky are the best i’ve ever read.

I suggest his Nobel winning novel The bridge on drina, but there are also many more which are (my opinion) better.

I was thinking of novels originally written in your language, and maybe (or maybe not) translated into English. Among German novels I like Der schwarze Obelisk by Erich Maria Remarque.

The (K) stands for my last name. Maybe you can guess it. It’s German, and it means the janitor of a church.

Hello Mr Kirchner :wink: At least that is the translation of a janitor in the church. As for novels in German, it sounds as if you have read some yourself? Which one did you like best?
Have to rush off to my father’s office. He wants to give me another of his lessons on business administration and so on. Hope it won’t take too long :wink:
PS: My surname has to do with cities and living in a town…

Hey Missanja, welcome! How many Dostoevsky novels have you read? Can you read and understand texts in Russian? How different is the Serbian language from Russian?

Interesting question, but, in my opinion, there isn’t one best novel, although I’ve occasionaly (only too rarely) thought ‘this is the best book I’ve ever read’ – and then, after a while, I couldn’t think what all the fuss was about. Maybe it has to do with a particular moment or mood.

However, I can say which authors have stayed in my heart. Here are only a few:

The Proven?al Marcel Pagnol, the English George Orwell (especially for “Down and Out in Paris and London” and “The Road to Wigan Pier”) and Charles Dickens, the Swede Axel Munthe (The Story of San Michele), the Irish Oscar Wilde, the Americans Barbara Kingsolver and John Steinbeck, the Colombian Gabriel Garc?a M?rquez, the Lebanese Gibran Khalil Gibran and the Spanish Antonio Gala.


I would like to nominate any book by P G Wodehouse. Someone once said: The world is divided into two categories - those who think P G Wodehouse is the greatest ever novelist and those who haven’t had the chance to read him yet.


Is your last name “Umgebung”? “U-Bahn”? :slight_smile:

I’ve read several German novels and novellas in German, and many in English translation. (I don’t like reading them in translation anymore.)

I hated the main character in The Sorrows of the Young Werther, and if he hadn’t shot himself at the end, I would have jumped into the story and strangled him myself. What an over-dramatic, self-absorbed little twit. I love Keller’s Romeo und Julia auf dem Dorfe, and anything by Theodore Storm, because their language is so visual. Right now I’m enjoying Herbert Rosendorfer’s Briefe in die chinesische Vergangenheit. I also think that Kafka’s Metamorphosis is a hilariously funny book. I thought it was spooky until I’d lived in the Czech Republic and seen how people behave there. Now I think it’s very funny.

One of my sisters would second Alan’s recommendation of anything by P.G. Wodehouse.

@ FrankU erm serbian and russian are two completely different languahes. I’ve had a chance to study russian at primary and in high school, and I may say that russian is very difficult language, especially their grammar. However, i read all Dostoevsy’s novels and short stories trenslated into serbian, and my fauvorites are The brothers Karamazov, The Gambler and White Nights.

I really really suggest reading Ivo Andric’s novels, no matter if you have political prejudice about my country. As I said he is nobel price winner for literature, and he is one of the best.

If somebody is interested in reading other Serbian wrtiers who are translated into english and other languages i will name them…

Greetings from Belgrade - european Manhattan

Missanja, have you ever read any Slovene novels by Miha Mazzini?

Hi Jamie, you are getting pretty close. My surname is Urban which is Latin and the word is used in German as well as in English which makes it easy for me to introduce myself in English :wink:
I have read your posting about Fat Tuesday - very interesting. Germany is not as culturally diverse as the US but in most large cities we have a very mixed population and here in Heidelberg you can see all kinds of nationalities. In the summer a lot of US tourists come to visit us too.

Hi again missanja, thanks for telling us more about your native language. So, are you saying if you hear a Russian talk you would not be able to understand him? What about other Slavic languages, do you understand Slovenian for example? You say Belgrade is the European Manhattan. Can you tell us more?

Serbian and Russian are not two completely different languages. They are both members of the Slavic language family, and they have enough grammar and vocabulary in common that speakers of one can often understand speakers of the other, although they may not understand absolutely everything, and once in a while they will understand nothing.

An example: Last night a Serbian student in my class did not understand the meaning of an English sentence in the subjunctive. I do not speak Serbian, but I translated the sentence into Russian and used one Czech word. She immediately understood and said it in Serbian. Only the question word was different between the Russian sentence and the Serbian one. The grammar was almost the same between Russian, Serbian and Czech.

Another example: I had an American girl in my normal English classes who had a lot of trouble with the verb tenses in complex sentences. I looked at her writing and realized she must speak some Slavic language at home. It was Serbian. I gave her a couple of English sentences to translate into Serbian. I do not know Serbian, but I understood the sentences, knew her Serbian verb tenses were also wrong, and told her, “No, the sentence should be something like…” She didn’t believe me, and she phoned her father. Her father said my Serbian verb tenses were right, and that hers were wrong.

So, Serbian and Russian are different languages, but they are related and have much, much more in common with each other and with the other Slavic languages than the Germanic languages do with each other.

Jamie- about your explanation … yes serbian and russian are both slavic langauges, they have similarities but have many differences… for example, somebody who doesn’t speak russian, and speaks serbian could understand a little of conversation between two russians, but russians do not understand any serbian when they are listening to conversation. My friend from Belgrade now lives in Moscow, and he told me that, and explained me what happened when he arrived there when he didnt know any russian…
russian grammar and serbian are both difficult, because we have seven cases, and russians have so many exeptions in their grammar rulles… there are more differnces than similarities between them…
about slovenian language i don’t know much… it sounds different than serbian and craotian, and when i spoke to some slovenian people, they told me that for them is easy to understand our language, but i found it very hard to understand their…btw theere were many slovenian people here during the europenas basketball championship in september last year, and a lot of them are still coming here because they adore belgrade…

i said that belgrade is european manhattan, and it is… like NY belgrade is the city which ‘never sleeps’…last week in new yourk times was an article about belgrade and its future development, and they wrote something similar…
i’ve seen so many european cities, and i may say that all of them are typical ‘capitalistic’ cities - during the week, after seven oclock they are ‘dead’… here in belgrade you can go out whenever you want and you can have party time any day any time…Franky if you want to know more you can send me a PP, because this topic is about books in native languages…


You have clearly not been to Spain yet, have you, Missanja? Or at least not to Madrid. The city is always alive and throbbing – it never sleeps, that’s for sure. The Spanish are definitely nocturnal creatures. Why do you think the siesta is so popular here (not that everybody can indulge in such a luxury)?

Also, cities like Paris, London or Munich (Munich’s nocturnal life is the one I’ve enjoyed most!) must have changed a lot since I last visited them if they are now ‘dead’ at night. Ibiza’s endless parties are also quite famous.

Anyway, with or without a nightlife, every place around the world has something distinctive to offer and we often don’t fully appreciate it because we keep on making comparisons or expecting things to be like back home. I hope for you that, after having visited all these countries, you have also kept a few good memories and not only remember their non-existing nightlife.

There are Czech towns that do not have enough to occupy a visitor for more than four hours, but they are definitely worth visiting.

Add Toronto to the list of towns that never shuts down. Chicago too.

I thought it was interesting that Missanja said it’s capitalist towns that shut down at 7 p.m. I seem to remember that in Prague and Bucurest under communism the nightlife didn’t last as far into the night as in Detroit, and I was aggravated by the fact that I couldn’t just walk out at any time of night and get things I needed.

hey people i didn’t mean that night life is the important part of the citylife… i just said that like an example… of course, every city has its landmarks and its advantages…

if you come to BG you will see what I said (between lines)…

@Conchita - Ibiza is an island… i was talking about cities…