English translation: with its broken outline

19:32 Jul 18, 2018
Spanish to English translations [PRO]
Art/Literary - Poetry & Literature / Novel
Spanish term or phrase: Abstracción
I'm translating a portion of the novel EL ANIMAL SOBRE LA PIEDRA by the Mexican writer Daniela Tarazona, which is fairly heady/poetic book about a woman who slowly metamorphoses into a reptile after the death of her mother. This is from towards the beginning of the book, when her perception of the objects surrounding her begins to change. I can't quite wrap my head around what the parenthetical "cuya abstracción era rota" might mean here. Here's the source, followed by my attempt at the complete paragraph (with a literal translation of the "abstracción" part, for lack of an alternative). I'm also not entirely confident in my interpretation of the rest of the sentence following the colon.

Era profundo el temor que me producía mi propia casa, por eso sentí la necesidad de huir. En los momentos de pánico los contornos de las cosas me amenazaban: las esquinas de los muebles, la irregularidad de la escalera o el perfil de la azotea -cuya abstracción era rota-: pensaba primero en la azotea, me asomaba por la puerta de la entrada y estiraba el cuello para medir su altura, mi mirada no estaba vinculada a la idea de peligro, pero me hacía ver que la azotea era un riesgo. No imaginé lanzarme de la azotea, sino que ella, en sí misma, representaba una amenaza para mí.

My own house produced a deep fear inside of me—that’s why I felt like I had to flee. In my moments of panic, the contours of things were threatening: the corners of furniture, the uneveneness of the staircase, the silhouette of the rooftop (whose abstraction was broken): the rooftop was the first thing I thought of—I peeked through the door and stretched my neck to see how high it was—I didn’t look because I thought it was a risk, but looking did make me see that the rooftop was a risk. I wasn’t thinking about throwing myself off it, but rather that it, on its own, represented a threat for me.

I know that this is an overbroad question, so thank you for your help!
Kevin Dunn
United States
English translation:with its broken outline
based on everything, I think this might do the job
Selected response from:

David Hollywood
Local time: 01:04
Grading comment
Thank you!
4 KudoZ points were awarded for this answer

Summary of answers provided
3 +1whose impression in my mind was a jagged [broken] one
2 +1with its broken outline
David Hollywood

Discussion entries: 6



4 hrs   confidence: Answerer confidence 2/5Answerer confidence 2/5 peer agreement (net): +1
with its broken outline

based on everything, I think this might do the job

David Hollywood
Local time: 01:04
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 116
Grading comment
Thank you!

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  neilmac: I take it my check is in the post... :)
8 hrs
  -> on its way and thanks Neil
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9 hrs   confidence: Answerer confidence 3/5Answerer confidence 3/5 peer agreement (net): +1
whose impression in my mind was a jagged [broken] one

Excuse my broken English, but "abstracción" would be "idea abstracta", per María Moliner, Diccionario de uso del español, and probably that could be conveyed as "an overall impression in the viewers mind", as in, not really having and exact "HD" vision of the "silhouette of the rooftop", but having the "abstract" or even "vague" idea on how it looked.

In other words, if you ask me how it was, I cannot really give you and exact, accurate detail of how it was, the jagged edges, and what angles of the tiles were, and so forth-- and/or the many other specific details, but I have the "overall /abstract impression that it was a "craggy" (if you can use that for a roof) broken silhouette of the rooftop.

"Era" is used instead of "estaba", because that is the way it was (in the mind of the 1st person, the writer, narrating the story...)

I hope this sheds some light, from a Spaniard viewpoint.

Saludos cordiales y suerte.

(Re-reading my answer, comes to mind some kind of cubist painting, maybe because "abstracción" is also "arte abstracto"... but it looks to me like the image picture in the mind of the narrator... ;-)

United States
Local time: 21:04
Specializes in field
Native speaker of: Native in SpanishSpanish
PRO pts in category: 8

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Anne Schulz
2 hrs
  -> Thank you very much, Anne. :-)
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