Problems of Translation, or Charlie's Comic, Terrifying, Romantic, Loopy Round-the-World Journey in Search of Linguistic Happiness
Charles Abel Baker sets off around the world on a quest to see one of his short stories translated into ten different languages, then back into English.
Cloak-and-dagger adventure, midlife crisis, romance, humor, and a great read:
"insanely amusing" (Gary Shteyngart)
"a merry, yearlong chase around the globe" (Kirkus)
"a comic masterpiece" (Robert Roth) and 4 stars--the max--from Portland Review More
"...A MERRY, YEARLONG CHASE AROUND THE GLOBE...."--Kirkus Reviews
"A comic masterpiece" "Poignant" "Pretty much perfectly done"
and A Shelf Unbound 2015 Notable Book
Charles Abel Baker--short story writer and a "most unlikely middle-aged hero"--sets off around the world on a quest to see one of his short stories translated into ten different languages and back again into English, a sort of literary version of the old party game "telephone." In Moscow, St. Petersburg, Siberia, China, India, Iceland, Japan, Mexico, and more, Charlie's round-the-world peregrinations are comical, romantic, and at times hair-raising.
Problems of Translation is a cloak-and-dagger adventure, a love story, and a bracing ride for the language buff. Its naïve hero's quixotic mission will ultimately transform Charlie and those around him. And along the way, Charlie--lonely, divorced--comes to love and be loved by a generous, complicated woman, and at last to understand what drove him to undertake this journey.
Who knew that literary translation could be so perilous? So romantic? So downright funny? A rousing hybrid and a great read, Problems of Translation is as stimulating as it is entertaining.
"An insanely amusing adventure that has a deep love of language at its belly-shaking core."-Gary Shteyngart, author of Little Failure and A Super Sad True Love Story
From Portland Book Review, Four Stars:
"...a zany and surprisingly philosophical adventure....This is a complex book that touches on language, culture, and the human desire to search for connection and meaning in life. One part midlife crisis, one part old-timey spy film, and one part romance, Problems in Translation is a multilayered story that readers - particularly those who love book related humor - will enjoy."
"Jim Story's name says it all: he was meant to be a writer...I hope everyone reads this book!"-Hannah Tinti, author of The Good Thief and The Twelve Lives of Samuel Hawley
"In this comic masterpiece...we take a wild ride...through the underside of the literary world...as [Charlie] stumbles and careens into all kinds of trouble in and obsessive pursuit of hid Dream."-Robert Roth, author of Health Proxy; editor, co-creator of And Then
"A fascinating look at the issues of translation, publishing, and an unglamorous middle-age."-Edith Grossman, author of Why Translation Matters; award-winning translator of Cervantes, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, and others
"...Marvelous touches of...poignancy that don't...delay the progress of the story toward it's delectable conclusion...pretty much perfectly done."-Ron Story (no relation), Emeritus Professor, UMass Amherst; author of Jonathan Edwards and the Gospel of Love
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