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Three stories repeated - Editing error? - with none of the characters noticing. I understand the translator trying to keep to some of old English terminology, but updating to make it easier reading and understanding would have helped.
The Decameron is an entertaining book. A compendium of short stories told by ten acquaintances waiting in the countryside for the plague to pass their native Florence. The ten are all young adults, full of life and excited about what adventures may lie ahead, should they make it unscathed through the period of peril.
To take their mind off things, the ten decide each should tell a story a day for the ten days of their quarantine. Each member of the party takes a turn as 'king' or 'queen' of the gathering, deciding on the theme of that day's stories.
The themes vary between those of love, trickery, comeuppance, mystery and humour. Each story is entertaining in itself, but the real bonus is the dialogue between the stories. Each character builds a style or personality throughout the book: some character's tales are boardy, some compassionate - all within a theme - the most identifiable style is Dioneo's, who is allowed to take the final turn each time and fills it with risque, humorous tales, which often make the women blush.
The language flows and is easy to read, except perhaps where the storytellers are engaged dialogue with each other. At these points the prose can read a little cod medieval and takes a bit of deciphering, though the translation is excellent.
The only other drag on the narrative are the songs that one of the group is asked to sing in times between stories. Once or twice could be forgiven, for the sake of adding atmosphere. The repeated noodling, however, grows tiresome. Readers will soon spot the offending character's call to action and skip over it if they want to.
Overall, the book is very readable and the variety of stories means that there should be something for everyone: sometimes there are moral lessons, sometimes there are tales of tragedy and reconciliation, sometimes there is pure mischief and fun.
The book would certainly be of interest to those who enjoyed The Canterbury Tales or Shakespeare's lighter works, such is the skill of the storyteller. Readers who may not be familiar with such works should not be put off, The Decameron is very accessible.
Für den Preis von 30 Euro hätte ich mir mehr erwartet. Das Buch ist geklebt, keine Fadenheftung. Und es hat keinen Buchumschlag, vergleichbar mit den Hardcover Büchern vom Anaconda Verlag (die ich ganz schrecklich finde, rein aus ästhetischen Gründen.) ist der Titelaufdruck direkt auf dem Buchdeckel. Der Buchinhalt ist tadellos mit schönen Holzschnitt-illustrationen aus der venezianischen Ausgabe von 1492.