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The Translator

The Translator

Book - 2002
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In John Crowley's new novel, he tells a tale of tremendous scope and beauty, set in a time when a writer's words -- especially forbidden ones -- could be powerful enough to change the course of history.

In 1962, at a large college in the Midwest, a young woman with a troubled recent history registers for a class -- a class that is to be taught by an exiled Russian poet. A writer herself, Kit Malone is drawn to Innokenti Falin, as he is called. The two forge a friendship that develops into something more: He asks her to help translate his work.

With the tension of the cold war accelerating toward a crisis in Cuba, the atmosphere on campus becomes contentious. Meanwhile, working on each poem with Falin, Kit finds herself able to face the secrets that made her swear never to write her own poetry again. And as the summer slips away, a delicate love grows between two displaced people.

It will not be until years later, though, that Kit will realize what really happened on the last night she spent with Falin, while the country held its breath against the threat of war.

Publisher: New York : William Morrow, c2002
ISBN: 9780380978625
0380978628
9780380815371
0380815370
Characteristics: 295 p. ; 25 cm

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scribby
Feb 18, 2021

A book written in prose but about poetry, but the lines are blurred: the prose is so poetic, evocative and often metaphorical, that the reader finds it to be a collection of narrative poems. It's also a book about the vagueness of language, and the sometimes impossibility of actually translating from one language to another and one way of thought to another; these difficulties are part of the plot and lead to the building of tension and the mysterious circumstances of the final chapters. Crowley again proves himself to be a top-notch writer, though this book is shorter and more intimate than the others by him that I've read, the epics called "Little, Big" and "Ka: Dar Oakley in the Ruin of Ymr".

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zhong_seattle
Sep 12, 2012

The description of poetry and its effects are very vivid.

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