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Archive: Other Books > The Translator by Nina Schuyler - 5 stars

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Joy D | 3186 comments The Translator by Nina Schuyler - 5 stars - My Review

As the book opens, Hanne Schubert, living in San Francisco, is finishing the first Japanese to English translation of a book by a celebrated Japanese author. She relates closely to the book’s protagonist and feels she thoroughly understands his personality and motivations. She is convinced her work will be acclaimed as a masterful translation. Her personal life is secondary to her work. Her son and his family live in New York, and she has been estranged from her daughter for six years. Then, she suffers a fall, which injures her brain in an unusual way, rendering her able to speak only Japanese. Feeling isolated, she travels to Japan, where she is profoundly changed by her experiences.

This book is a deep character study of a woman gifted in language but impaired in emotional connections. Hanne is intelligent, confident, disciplined, and hard working. She believes she is “right” about pretty much everything, and anyone that sees life differently is “wrong.” As her own backstory is revealed, she becomes an empathetic character. She is believable and the reader will likely know people with similar traits.

Schuyler subtly explores how people impose their own views on others rather than valuing them for their unique qualities. I think the author does a magnificent job with Hanne’s emotional epiphany. The book also imparts an appreciation of Noh, a Japanese theatrical art. I found myself riveted by the performance scenes. Highly recommended to those that appreciate novels about personal transformations.


message 2: by Booknblues (new)

Booknblues | 5495 comments This sounds really good. Thank you for your excellent review.


Joy D | 3186 comments Booknblues wrote: "This sounds really good. Thank you for your excellent review."
You're welcome! I thought it worked on multiple levels. The author does a very nice job.


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