The Secret in Their Eyes
Set in Argentina before and after the period known as the Dirty War, this is the story of Benjamin Chaparro, a retired detective who is writing a book looking back on the investigation of a brutal rape and murder. The Oscar for the best foreign film of 2010 was awarded to a movie of the same title roughly based on the novel. The book is more about personal lives than the political situation, but the corrupt regime of the colonels creates the conditions for acts of private revenge. The murderer is exposed through clever interrogation, but he is released long before his term. The relationship between the detective and the victim’s husband is one of the main threads of the story. The other is Chaparro’s love for a woman, once his co-worker, but now a judge.
The translation has to find equivalents for a number of Argentine epithets, such as boludo (translated as asshole) sometimes successfully and sometimes less so. For the ubiquitous puta, he finds numerous equivalents depending on the contexts. Some Argentine references are inexplicably altered. In the original, someone confessing was said to sing “como Patuto Ortega,” a popular singer who had a second career as a provincial governor, but the translation inexplicably uses the better-known but less contemporary tango master Carlos Gardel in the comparison. However, on the whole the translation keeps the faith with an exciting and complex novel.