第93回 今月はオススメの本が9冊

一行翻訳コンテスト2015.04.16

■オススメの一冊 その1

『For the Love of Physics: From the End of the Rainbow to the Edge Of Time ― A Journey Through the Wonders of Physics』
(Walter Lewin著/Free Press)

For the Love of Physics: From the End of the Rainbow to the Edge Of Time ― A Journey Through the Wonders of Physics

『これが物理学だ! マサチューセッツ工科大学「感動」講義』
(ウォルター・ルーウィン著/東江一紀訳/文藝春秋)

For the Love of Physics: From the End of the Rainbow to the Edge Of Time ― A Journey Through the Wonders of Physics

まず1冊目はWalter Lewinの『For the Love of Physics』。物理の世界を取り上げた入門書で、著者はマサチューセッツ工科大学の教授。数式などを使うのではなく、物理学の楽しさを教えてくれる本です。翻訳が出ていると思わずに買ってしまいました。翻訳は東江先生だったんですね。以下引用。

Here’s something fun to try. Stand on a bathroom scale ― not one of those fancy ones at your doctor’s office, and not on of those digital glass things you have to tap with your toes to make it turn on, just an everyday bathroom scale. It doesn’t matter if you have your shoes on (you don’t have to impress anyone), and it doesn’t matter what number you see, and whether you like it or not. Now, quickly raise yourself up on your toes; then stop and hold yourself there. You’ll see that the scale goes a little crazy. You may have to do this several times to clearly see what’s going on because it all happens pretty quickly.

■オススメの一冊 その2

『Not the Killing Type』
(Lorna Barrett著/Berkley)

Not the Killing Type

2冊目はLorna Barrettの『Not the Killing Type』。A Booktown Mysteryというシリーズもの。最近はやりのレシピ付き(最近は、日本のライト・ミステリーでもこういうのが増えてきています)。こちらは本屋主人の素人探偵が選挙絡みの事件を解決するというやつ。以下引用。

“Will this ever stop happening?” Tricia groused and slammed the restroom door. She’d found a body sitting on a toilet once before ― in her own store. That time it had been a visiting author, Zoe Carter, who’d been known for a series of historical mysteries. She’d been strangled. Tricia seriously doubted Stan Berry had written anything other than invoices and checks.
     She took a couple of deep breaths to calm her suddenly jagged nerves. Since there was a minimum of blood staining Stan’s clothing, he must have died almost instantly. His expression of slack-jawed surprise was sure to stay with her when she closed her eyes for any length of time during the coming days.

■オススメの一冊 その3

『The Cat Sitter’s Cradle: A Dixie Hemingway Mystery』
(Blaize Clement、John Clement著/Minotaur Books)

The Cat Sitter's Cradle: A Dixie Hemingway Mystery

3冊目はBlaize & John Clementの『The Cat Sitter’s Cradle』。こちらはベイビーシッターならぬキャットシッター、ディキシー・ヘミングウェイを主人公にしたコジー系ミステリー。

It was about 6:00 A.M. when Rufus and I saw Joyce Metzger on the walking path that runs around the perimeter of Glebe Park at the north end of Siesta Key. Rufus is a scruffy-faced schnauzer who firmly believes that he’s in total charge of whatever street he happens to be walking on, so he let out a little wuf! to announce our presence. Joyce had Henry the VIII on a leash, and they were both studying with intense curiosity something that was lying on the path. Joyce had squatted down low to see better, and Henry the VIII, being a tiny miniature dachshund, was already down low. When Rufus barked again they both looked up, and their faces brightened in recognition.
I’m Dixie Hemingway, no relation to you-know-who. I’m a cat sitter on Siesta Key, a semitropical barrier island in the Gulf of Mexico, just off Sarsota, Florida.

■オススメの一冊 その4

『The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History』
(Elizabeth Kolbert著/Bloomsbury Publishing PLC)

The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History

『6度目の大絶滅』
(エリザベス・コルバオート著/鍛原多恵子訳/NHK出版)

6度目の大絶滅

4冊目は、Elizabeth Kolbertの『The Sixth Extinction』。こちらはこれまでに5回、大量絶滅(隕石衝突、火山活動など)があったけれど、いま密かに6番目の大絶滅が起ころうとしているという内容です。せっかく買ってきたのに、『6度目の大絶滅』というタイトルで翻訳が出てしまったよん。なので課題文にならず。以下引用。

The town of El Valle de Anton, in Central Panama, sits in the middle of a volcanic crater formed about a million years ago. The crater is almost four miles wide, but when the weather is clear you can see the jagged hills that surround the town like the walls of a ruined tower. El Valle has one main street, a police station, and an open-air market. In addition to the usual assortment of Panama hats and vividly colored embroidery, the market offers what must be the world’s largest selection of golden-frog figurines. There are golden frogs resting on leaves and golden frogs sitting up on their haunches and ― rather more difficult to understand ― golden frogs clasping cell phones. There are golden frogs wearing frilly skirts and golden frogs striking dance poses and golden frogs smoking cigarettes through a holder, after the fashion of FDR. The golden frog, which is taxicab yellow with dark brown splotches, is endemic to the area around El Valle. It is considered a lucky symbol in Panama, its image is (or at least used to be) printed on lottery tickets.

■オススメの一冊 その5

『The Accidental Alchemist』
(Gigi Pandian著/Midnight Ink)

The Accidental Alchemist

5冊目は、Gigi Pandianの『The Accidental Alchemist』。これは錬金術師のゾー・ファウストが、ガーゴイルのドリアン・ロバート・フーディンに何世紀も昔の文書を解読するように頼まれたことから展開していく物語。

Being an alchemist isn’t as glamorous as it sounds. Turning lead into gold? It’s a laborious, utterly draining process that’s incredibly difficult to replicate. Living a longer life? Not without unpleasant consequences, such as outliving everyone you love and feeling the effects of years of unhealthy living.
     Alchemy means different things to different people, but at its core, it’s about transformation that strives to achieve perfection. It’s a personal journey that involves transforming yourself as you transform plants or metals. Finding the philosopher’s stone to create gold and the Elixir of Life to live forever are the most famous goals of alchemists, but those are only two parts of a much greater whole.

■オススメの一冊 その6

『Drone』
(Mike Maden著/Berkley)

Drone

最近話題になっているドローンを取り上げたアクション小説がMike Madenの『Drone』。CIA出身で現在はドローンを使ったセキュリティ会社を経営しているトロイ・ピアースが主人公の小説で、アクションと現代技術の描写が面白いかな。

It was nearly midnight and they were still an hour away from landing in Denver. Despite objections by the Secret Service over the enormous security risks, President Margaret Myers had attended the memorial service for Ryan Martinez and the Cinco de Mayo massacre victims and their families in El Paso earlier that day.
The galley steward had just cleared away her half-eaten Cobb salad and remained below deck to give her privacy. Her closest advisors were gathered in the West Wing conference center back in Washington. She was currently linked to them on a live video feed.

■オススメの一冊 その7

『The Extraordinary Journey of the Fakir Who Got Trapped in an Ikea Wardrobe』
(Romain Puertolas著/Vintage)

The Extraordinary Journey of the Fakir Who Got Trapped in an Ikea Wardrobe

『IKEAのタンスに閉じこめられたサドゥーの奇想天外な旅』
(ロマン・プエルトラス著/吉田恒雄訳/小学館)

IKEAのタンスに閉じこめられたサドゥーの奇想天外な旅

Romain Puertolasの『The Extraordinary Journey of the Fakir who got Trapped in an Ikea Wardrobe』。これも買っておいたら翻訳が出てしまったという。『IKEAのタンスに閉じこめられたサドゥーの奇想天外な旅』 です。インド人の行者がパリのIKEAに買い物にきて、洋服ダンスに閉じ込められ、世界を旅するという話です。ユーモラス。

The first word spoken by the Indian man Ajatashatru Oghash Rathod upon his arrival in France was, oddly enough, a Swedish word.
     Ikea.
     That was what he said in a quiet voice.
     Having pronounced this word, he shut the door of the old red Mercedes and waited, his hands resting on his silky knees like a well-behaved child.
     The taxi driver, who was not sure he had heard correctly, turned round to face his customer, making the little wooden beads of his seat cover creak as he did so.

■オススメの一冊 その8

『Quake』
(Jack Douglas著/Pinnacle)

Quake

Jack Douglasの『Quake』は、ニューヨークで直下型地震が起こるという設定の小説。原発は壊れる、911のテロリストは逃げ出す、そして都市自体も壊滅という中での逃避行であり、戦いの物語でありという。まあなんでも詰め込みすぎという感もありますが、いかにもアメリカらしいエンターテインメント。

The earth settled. Nick Dykstra stood on the concrete steps he’d stood on only hours before. Only this time as he looked out at the scene in front of him he saw not a mob of protestors and journalists but a panorama of death and destruction. Bodies lay bloodied in piles under rubble along Pearl Street. Squinting against the storm of dust, he spotted some movement, but most of the block remained motionless. The street itself had opened along its center, creating a horrific gash that had swallowed dozens of protestors. Car alarms and building alarms screeched like a murder of dying crows, while police and fire and ambulance sirens sounded helplessly in the distance.

■オススメの一冊 その9

『Cat Out of Hell』
(Lynne Truss著/Hammer)

Cat Out of Hell

もう一冊。Lynne Trussの『Cat out of Hell』。これもユーモア系かな。以前紹介した『Eats, Shoots and Leaves』の著者による作品。

The following story, which is absolutely true, was brought to my attention when I was holidaying recently in the coast of North Norfolk. The month was January. It was in search of silence and tranquility. I had rented a cottage which provided a fine view of the deserted nearby seashore, on which my small brown dog could run in safety. Having recently suffered the loss of my dear wife, I chose the location with care ― isolation was precisely what I required, for I was liable to sudden bouts of uncontrollable emotion, and wished not to be the cause of distress or discomfort in others. For a week or two, I was glad to be alone there, to make the fire, cook simple meals, watch the dog running in happy circles at the far-off water’s edge, and weep freely in private whenever the need overcame me.

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