Lost In Translation: A Life in a New Language
Her autobiography is profoundly personal but also tells one of the most universal and important nar ...more
Hoffman often writes beautifully and always thoughtfully; I sort of struggle bet ...more
One of my problems was with its writing style. Eva Hoffman's habit of using unusual words in unusual contexts threw me off, and I repeatedly found myself thinking: why go out of your way to construct a long, convoluted sentence with lots of polysyllabic words if you're not sure you're using them correctly? ...more
Surprisingly, I felt that this book gave me more insight into Poles than Americans. I expected to hear a different perspective on American culture, and I did, but I also feel that the contrast between Polish and American women was instructive. Despite having lived in Poland for a year after graduating from c
“Sometimes I long to forget… It is painful to be conscious of two worlds” (Hoffman, P. 163).
To anyone who knows what it is to have transformed from one thing to another—the discomfort, that feeling of never being able to settle within one’s self in re ...more
I hated how reptitive she was. She writes these really interesting sentences to describe things. Like she used the term "oblique angles" to describe someone's face. I liked that, until, less than two paragraphs later, she used the exact same term to describe something completely different. And then again, a few pages later. If you write s ...more
The small details here were as enlightening as the bigger epiphanies. One such example of the tenuous n ...more
I always try to recommend this book to people and I hope more people have heard of it outside of the circles I run in... apparently Eva Hoffman is coming to Philadelphia ...more
“Lost in Translation” is an autobiography by Eva Hoffman, who shares memorable stories about her life. The story takes place during the 1950’s, when she was a little girl to the 1970’s where she becomes a grown woman living life on her own. In present time, she is a woman living in New York, but is telling her story through flashbacks of how she misses her old life back in Cracow, Poland shortly after WWII while under Soviet Communism. Eva and her family move to ...more
It was hard not to skim through pages and pages of long descriptions, using large words for the sake of using large words. I can imagine that this writer has so much more interesting detail to tell about moving from Poland to Canada at age 13, but she chooses instead to tell me over and over and over again how she felt isolated. I wanted detail; I wanted stories. I had neither. It eventually made me bored...
"My American Friends are so many, and they share so many assumptions that are quite invisible to them, precisely because they’re shared. These are assumptions about the most fundamental human transactions, subcutaneous beliefs, which lie just below the stratum of political opinion or overt ideology: abou ...more
The first half of the book describes Eva's life as a child in Cracow, wha ...more
"Right now, this is the place where I'm alive. How could there be any other place? Be here now, I think to myself in the faintly ironic tones in which the phrase is uttered by the likes of me. Then the phras ...more
about language that have been consistently raised in modernist literature and in meta-texts by modernist writers. In it, Hoffman gives a psychoanalytic
description of identity's relation to language. As an immigrant, she gives
another, more sympathetic and compelling interpretation of something like Henry
James' anxiety and T.S. Eliot's hankering for a linguistic ground in tradition.
For Hoffman, a healthy self-identity depends upon an ...more
Her family is Jewish, the only survivors (in her family) of WWII, and bits of information about their experiences a ...more