Saturday, 1 June 2013

The Housemaid's Daughter in French

Welcome to The Housemaid's Daughter, newly translated into French and published as... Une Chanson Pour Ada - A Song for Ada.
The cover offers a soft-focus image of a young woman and child, set against the unmistakably African background of an acacia tree, purple hills and yellow plains stretching to the distance.

The French publishers are the first to have chosen to name the main character in the book as part of the title. I think it's rather lovely - although Ada herself might be a little disconcerted by the attention! I guess she is just going to have to get used to the idea of being in the public eye. I like the concept of the song, which highlights the central role music plays in the novel. Actually, I have been delighted that all of the publishers have wanted to acknowledge the music in the book, from the watermark musical score on the cover of the UK edition, to the child playing the piano in the Italian edition (see previous blog).

By the way, if you want to hear a full recording of Chopin's Raindrop Prelude - Ada's signature piece in the book - go to my website and choose the Music tab and you will be able to listen to it. It is a marvellous composition, and very much a metaphor for Ada's turbulent life... and the country she lives in.

I speak a little French so I have begun to read Une Chanson Pour Ada. It's a strange feeling to be translating the French sentences back into English - and then remembering how I originally wrote them. Une Chanson Pour Ada will be the only translation that I'll understand fully - I don't speak German, Icelandic, Polish etc - so I am determined to make my way through it. Will I be left with different emotions at the end? Will the nuances have changed - or been added to?
In any event, I hope it will do wonders for my French. I have already spotted several examples of the dreaded subjunctive tense...

Next time, I'll be blogging from Canada, where I'll be promoting the book and meeting readers in Toronto.

Bon chance to Une Chanson Pour Ada!


  1. Barbara, when are you coming to Toronto? I hope I haven't missed you. I just finished your book and can't praise it highly enough. I'm recommending it to so many people. I'm so thrilled it's had such a good response and people from all over will get to read it. It is definitely one of the best South African books ever written. (I grew up in Zimbabwe and then lived in Cape Town and Jhb.)

  2. I have just returned from Toronto - see my next blog! Sorry to have missed you - and thank you for your kind words about Housemaid. Please keep spreading the word!