Sunday, January 11, 2015

The Teacher of Cheops by Albert Salvado

The Teacher of Cheops
by Albert Salvado
translated by Marc Brian Duckett
1998
**
2 stars - maybe something got lost in translation
ALR Blue


From my reading around the world list (can't believe I'm still on the A's). This was the only book from the country of Andorra (located between between France and Spain and sporting a population about the same as my home town).

I have no doubt that there are plenty of authors in residence, but I imagine it is no small feat to reach the level of popularity that is required to publish translations. However, this was a particularly arduous read for me and were it not for the relatively short duration (200 pages) and the fact that it is the one and only book from Andorra on the list, I would have stopped sooner.

The Teacher of Cheops is an historical novel taking place in Egypt during the reign of Pharaoh Snefru. The central character, Sedum, was born a slave, but through some rather devastating circumstances, finds himself a free man and accountant to the Pharaoh. 

The author waffles between historical fiction and philosophy. There are some interesting references to day to day life in ancient Egypt, but they are few and unsatisfying. Meanwhile, our hero, struggles with survival within the political morass of a world devoted to their one leader, Pharaoh. 

Sedum's life seems perpetually joyless and he is always watching his back. Punishment for crimes, both real and alleged, is horrific and it is impossible to avoid getting entangled in intrigue. When he meets the teacher, Sebekhotep, there are increasingly painful philosophical ramblings. 

I had to purchase this book and it took several months for Amazon to find a copy for me. It is now headed to the library for their monthly book sale where it can hopefully find a loving home with a reader more appreciative of the story.

1 comment:

  1. It's sad, but often something is lost in translation of books (and movies, for that matter). Too bad, because the subject matter is promising. It's amazing that Amazon found it for you. Gotta love Jeff Bezos!

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