- Title: The Translator: A Novel
- Author: Nina Schuyler
- Genre: Literary Fiction
- Publication Date: August 15, 2015
- Length: 336 pages
- Publisher: Pegasus
by M.C. Simon
It’s my first time reading a book from this author, so I didn’t know what to expect. I found her to be a profound writer, who uses and twists words in a very intelligent way. A writer who points to the human relationships and their souls. I found a writer who goes far beyond the appearances and makes the reader immerse himself into a very complex internal world; a world that can make you meditate on the meaning of life.
Nina Schuyler takes the reader into a very deep life story, in which the main character, Hanne, a middle-aged widow translator has to face her past and to reexamine everything.
I will not describe the short version of The Translator because the synopsis speaks for itself. Behind the drama that strikes on the surface, there is an entire world of thoughts… thoughts that, the very interesting characters in the book have, and thoughts that the reader has to cross while having this book opened.
If you expect a comedy or a soap opera genre with a fashionable happy ending, then this book is not for you. But, if you want to explore reasons, customs, lessons of acceptance, despair, hope, transformation and meanings, I recommend this book to you. It is a book that will not only make you wonder but in a very elegant and wise mode, will also introduce you to the Japanese culture.
When renowned translator Hanne Schubert falls down a flight of stairs, she suffers an unusual condition― the loss of her native language. Speaking only Japanese, a language she 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 prose, Nina Schuyler offers a deeply moving and mesmerizing story about language, love, and the transcendence of family.
The Translator won the 2014 Next Generation Indie Book Award for General Fiction and placed second for overall fiction. It was also shortlisted for the William Saroyan International Writing Prize.
About the Author
Nina Schuyler’s first novel, The Painting, (Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill, 2004), was a finalist for the Northern California Book Awards. It was also selected by the San Francisco Chronicle as one of the Best Books of 2004, and dubbed a “fearless debut” by MSNBC and a “great debut” by the Rocky M ountain News. It’s been translated into Chinese, Portuguese, and Serbian.
Her short story, “The Bob Society,” was nominated for a Pushcart Prize. Her poems, short stories and essays have appeared in ZYZZYVA, Santa Clara Review, Fugue, The Meadowland Review, The Battered Suitcase, and other literary journals. She reviews fiction for The Rumpus and The Children’s Book Review. She’s fiction editor at Able Muse.
She attended Stanford University for her undergraduate degree, earned a law degree at Hastings College of the Law and an MFA in fiction with an emphasis on poetry at San Francisco State University. She currently teaches creative writing at the University of San Francisco.