When I’m driving or walking I often think of things I’d like to talk over with you all. When the blank page is before me and I finally have the chance, I forget every last blasted thing.
On January 17th, I had a thought, which, in a rare instance of recall and follow up, I recorded on my phone for future use. It wasn’t much of a thought. It’s sullen, immature and unkind, really, but here it is:
Has there ever been a more awkward last name to pronounce than Karenina? I have never read Anna Karenina and I probably never will because trying to wrap my tongue around that extra repetitive syllable is an exercise in lingual frustration that I just don’t need.
I’m guessing Tolstoy didn’t have a literary agent or publicist because if he had, I imagine they would have taken him to lunch, plied him with good vodka, and gently suggested that maybe Smith would be a better last name for his heroine, or Smythe, if you will. Or even Popov. That’s Russian. What’s wrong with Anna Popov?
Where did Tolstoy come up with a name like Karenina? Was he toying with his readership? Imagining with delight the tongue-tied high school students of centuries to come?
I prefer books with names I can pronounce. Dick and Jane, for instance. Cat in the Hat, now that was a good one. Dr. Seuss didn’t need to stand behind lofty, unpronounceable names to sell his books. Simple sells. That’s my motto.
Says the woman who named her blog Chicken’s Consigliere.