Customer Review

8 of 46 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars The US details in this book just don't stand up, 12 Jan 2003
By A Customer
This review is from: Mappa Mundi (Paperback)
It annoys me when foreigners writing about the US can't get their details right. A quick reading by an American could have picked up on the Anglicisms that slipped into this novel. But here we have "launderettes" and "surveyors". When the car swerves we almost end up on the "central reservation", and people who go to prison are "sent down". And someone sits down with a pack of cards to play a game of "patience".
The character Mary Delaney, who is meant to be American, meets Miles Roseck of the "Montana Senatorial office". There are two senators for every American state, who may represent different political parties. Each has his or her own staff, and they do not all sit in one office together. That would be equivalent to the prime minister and leader of the opposition of your country sharing 10 Downing Street.
Mary worries that "The current government could easily be toppled by the Republicans..." "Toppled" is an Anglicism, as is "current government". Are the Republicans plotting a revolution? They might topple the administration, but not the entire US government. Anyone in England remotely interested in our current situation (ie, impending war with Iraq) will be familiar with the phrase "The Bush administration".
Mary is also concerned that that interest groups "...would unite in outrage...ending all that the Declaration of Independence stood for, particularly free will." Even a cursory reading should inform an English person that the Declaration of Independence expresses the right to freedom from English tyranny. The Constitution sets out Americans' rights, and it should be immediately obvious that the "right to free will" isn't one of them. Free will is a religious or philosophical concept, not a sociopolitical one.
American politics plays a big part in this novel. It would have been better if it had been researched long before publication. One of the pleasures of reading fiction is the opportunity to cross cultural barriers and explore different worlds. This is a novel that should have stayed at home.
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Showing 1-1 of 1 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 20 Apr 2009 10:53:13 BDT
horrace says:
I completely agree with you but it should also be pointed out that the same is equally true of US people writing about Britain and Ireland (and probably all of us writing about Europe).
As you say - a quick proofread could have picked these things up - the reason why this isn't done is due to costs needing to be driven down so much - and the reason for this is Corporate Greed and Globalisation - and guess where that comes from !
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