Month: August 2014

Nina Schuyler’s The Translator: a Novel

San Francisco author Nina Schuyler wrote a gem of a novel called The Translator. Like many who grew up acquiring more than one language, perhaps easily, the translator’s stream of consciousness feels real. And for many who have attempted to translate more than just a few tag lines, second-guessing your translations become routine. When the original Japanese author rejects Hanne’s translation of his novel, it isn’t surprising that she falls into the abyss of failure that all who have pride in their work experience when critiqued. It helps to seize the hermetic feeling of the protagonist’s mind that following a brain injury she can only speak Japanese while the rest of her consciousness can perfectly hear English. And it helps that Japanese language and culture are hermetic too. We follow Hanne as she traces the fictional Jiro (to add to the feeling of mental confusion, she had a husband called Hiro) to the real Noh theatre actor Moto, and spends a few days with him. Together they unblock each other, he in returning to acting, she …