Lost in translation

I've been rereading Italo Calvino's If On a Winter's Night a Traveler, and regretting that I don't speak Italian. There's always something vaguely unsatisfying about reading in translation; I always feel the author straining against the flattening effect of someone else's words.

But perhaps I'm just projecting. Are there translations which are better than the originals, or just as good? Borges doesn't count.

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Megan McArdle is a columnist at Bloomberg View and a former senior editor at The Atlantic. Her new book is The Up Side of Down.

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