You may not have noticed, but...
It's hardly noticeable, but...
or any expression to that effect :
"Mine de rien, trente kilomètres à pied, ça fait une trotte"
"I'd never realized it, but 30 kilometres is a fair walk".
It has to be adjusted to context, but that's the gist of it.
I've seen the [posts above] on "mine de rien", but none of the expressions I found there seems to fit "mine de rien" in this context:
Elle savait aussi que sa mère l'aimait follement. Mine de rien, la conscience de cet amour lui servait de colonne vertébrale.
We're talking about an anorexic girl here, who finds support in her mother, so the meaning is rather heavy and wicked (the biggest support in killing herself she found in her mother).
I don't think mine de rien in this context can be substituted by "it is hardly noticeable", nor "innocently", "casually" or "despite appearances" (but I could be wrong, I've no idea, really).
Maybe "after all"? But would that actually make any sense?
but that's precisely the thing - in the book it was clearly visible that her mother's love was the only thing that supported her and pushed her even harder.
That's why I'm confused about the most basic meaning of "mine de rien", because it just doesn't seem to fit in here :<
and so I'm having problems with this diabolic expression
Remember that a mine is literally a (human) face, so the literal idea behind mine de rien is that of a pokerface, when the truth of the matter cannot be read from a person's facial expression. Perhaps they make something look very easy when it in fact requires great effort. Perhaps they look very innocent while they're actually doing something quite manipulative. Etc. The figurative meanings extend from this idea of something hidden under an unremarkable exterior.
This sentence seems to come from the novel Robert des noms propres, which I have not read.
However, I suspect that the idea here is as follows: the anorexic girl knows that her mother adores her... but she does not fully realize that the knowledge of her mother's love is in fact what supports her; she is not aware of the extent to which her mother's love is important. Like her spine, its presence is essential, and yet she doesn't even think about it.
Do you need to translate mine de rien here, or just to understand its usage?
I'm not totally comfortable with your translation. Subconscious do not (imo) really fit here. I'd translate that sentence :" ...And despite any other appearance this love supported her/gave her strength..."
Yes, but it is precisely the word "subconsciously" which confuse me. The fact that her mother loved her insn't subconscious because she know it. Right ? I'd replace "subconsciously this love" by "the knowledge of this love". But again i'm not totally comfortable by this translation. Is knowledge appropriate here ?
Just to throw in my two cents worth (since I looked up "mine de rien" for a translation I'm doing (context: Sempé's drawing, which "'mine de rien'" portray complete moral tales"). Clearly, mine de rien is one of those expressions that can have 1,000 translations depending on context. In the above, I like "oddly enough" (sometimes, though not for what I'm working on) and, fwiw, would suggest "unobtrusively" or "inconspicuously" (again, depending on context. Good luck all!