Format Hardcover
Publication Date 07/01/13
ISBN 9781605984704
Trim Size / Pages 9.3 x 6.3 in / 352

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The Translator

A Novel

Nina Schuyler

“Schuyler writes with piercing intelligence and real insight into the complex worlds of literary translation and human relationships.” — Ellen Sussman, author of the New York Times bestselling novel, French Lessons

When renowned translator Hanne Schubert falls down a flight of stairs, she suffers from an unusual but real condition — the loss of her native language. Speaking only Japanese, a language learned later in life, she leaves for Japan. There, to Hanne’s shock, the Japanese novelist whose work she recently translated confronts her publicly for sabotaging his work.

Reeling, Hanne seeks out the inspiration for the author’s novel — a tortured, chimerical actor, once a master in the art of Noh theater. Through their passionate, volatile relationship, Hanne is forced to reexamine how she has lived her life, including her estranged relationship with her daughter. In elegant and understated prose, Nina Schuyler offers a deeply moving and mesmerizing story about language, love, and the transcendence of family.

Nina Schuyler's first novel, The Painting, was nominated for the Northern California Book Award, and named a “Best Book of the Year” by the San Francisco Chronicle and Rocky Mountain News. She was nominated for a 2010 Pushcart Prize and teaches creative writing at the University of San Francisco.

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Endorsements & Reviews

“We first meet Hanne Schubert, the protagonist of Nina Schuyler's moving and intelligent new novel, "The Translator," in the thick of the work she loves: literary translation, in this case of a novel by a Japanese author named Koboyashi. Hanne's sojourn in Japan, which takes up the bulk of Schuyler's novel, is rich in details both sensory (the country's colors and tastes, as well as the sounds of its language) and cultural (manners, habits, social expectations). The creed on which Hanne has based her career (and the novel is clear that Hanne is a disciplined, hardworking, supremely intelligent woman) has omitted the importance of empathy and humility. This lesson, which Hanne finally receives in a setting far from her San Francisco home or any familiar geography, is delivered with great grace. It comes as a stunning surprise to the reader, in a powerful, beautiful scene that illuminates the value of listening carefully, even when one doesn't completely understand.” Sylvia Brownrigg The San Francisco Chronicle
“A brilliant odyssey of a mother and daughter. In clear, lyric prose, Nina Schuyler leads the reader into a dazzling kaleidoscope of different languages and the under- currents of love and anger that belong to all of them. A profound, suspenseful and beautifully written book.” Thaisa Frank, author of Heidegger’s Glassesand Enchantment
After a brain injury that impairs her language skills, Hanne, whose life’s work is translation, is forced to fumble for words. A woman whose highest virtue has been correctness and precision comes to discover that the language of the heart is always a fumbling one, and the art of translation becomes a beautiful metaphor for the difficult art of traversing the border between ourselves and the people we love. Schuyler’s prose is beautifully elegant and understated, with every detail made to count in weaving a rich emotional tapestry.” Catherine Brady, author of Curled in the Bed of Love, winner of the Flannery O’Connor Award for Short Fiction
“In Hanne Schubert’s talent for language, Nina Schuyler delivers the importance of words in literature and in life. In her loss, we better understand the long road of grief, and the distance we will travel for our children.” Meg Waite Clayton, author of bestseller The Wednesday Sisters and The Wednesday Daughters
“What stands out in Nina Schuyler's complex and absorbing novel is her ability to craft descriptive and emotionally engaging language with respect to her characters and how she deftly weaves her storyline. A solid, compelling novel from beginning to end, The Translator is truly exceptional and highly recommended for both personal reading lists and community library fiction collections.” Midwest Book Review
“A lyrical, haunting tale delivered with both grace and smarts. Nina Schuyler skillfully strips away her translator character’s primary language, and sends her on a journey of self-discovery to Japan. You’ll be thankful you followed.” Lalita Tademy, Author of the New York Times bestsellers Cane River and Red River