Sunday, September 05, 2010

Sholem Aleichem on sensational novelas

I just translated this from "Kasrileke Progress." Reminds me of Univision and the telenovelas...

During the time I was in Khasrilevke, both local newspapers, "The Yarmulke" and "The Cap," published a highly interesting and thrilling novel. One called it "The Forbidden Kiss from the Stolen Bride" and the second called it "The Stolen Kiss from the Forbidden Bride."

As the above-mentioned Kasrilevke highbrow led me to understand - confidentially, as usual - the said novela was taken from an old Russian book through the efforts of two literati, who endeavored to smear its plots out as thinly as possible in all directions to make it longer, and - in order to keep the public in suspense - they were constantly thinking up new sensations, suddenly coming up with a fresh, healthy hero, lively right off the bat, who was not slow to bring a couple of women down from the Other World if it suited them.

And if you like, they'll start right over again from the beginning...

The truth must be told, however: in Kasrilevke the said novela was being read with great eagerness. People lick their fingers over it, looked forward to it. Morning barely passes, they throw themselves at the "Forbidden Bride."

In the normal course of things, there'd have been an end to it long ago. The authors themselves were hard-pressed to continue drawing out the suspense. They'd killed off the novela's protagonists long before: some had been hung, some poisoned, some shot. But in the course of their dismal competition, the editors demanded the story be drawn out still more: neither wanted his story to end before the other's.

During the time I was in Kasrilevke, it happened that some of the story's heroes were being shot for the THIRD time, and the Forbidden Bride had been stolen twice - kidnapped and tortured, thereafter sought and found, then stolen again, and again murderously tortured. There was just no end to these authors' atrocities - I have no idea what they were thinking!



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