Thursday, May 28, 2009
Le Famose Patate
In Italy, I got my first look at the new edition of my book. The American title is Famous Potatoes and the original Italian edition, published 30 years ago, was Famose Patate. When I saw the new edition, two things were immediately obvious:
1. It was a high-quality edition, nice paper, nice endflaps, beautiful print job, soft almost leathery feel to the paper.
2. They'd changed the title. Now it is called Le Famose Patate.
So I innocently asked Paolo, the publisher, "Why'd you change the title?"
Immediately Seba, my translator, started shouting (in English): "See? I told you not to change the title! Never fuck with an author's title!"
Paolo, the publisher, shouted back: "It was the right thing to do!"
Then they switched to Italian and continued to shout at each other.
Hey, I was just asking...
It wasn't until a week later that I got the true story. It seems that in the last 30 years a new slang expression has emerged in Italy. While 30 years ago Famose Patate meant Famous Potatoes, now to the Italian ear Famose Patate means, um, excuse me but it means Famous Pussies.
By adding the "Le," it means Potatoes again. Don't ask me how.