My rating: 4.7
This is a book for those who appreciate words and language…not for those who want action. This is also not a happy or upbeat book but, very full of meaning and trying to understand people and life. This beautifully written book feels like the many languages of Hanne Schubert come together. Hanne is a 53 year old translator and this novel opens with Hanne immersed in translating a well-known Japanese author’s work into English. You realize the many potential interpretations of the words, sentences, paragraphs.
When Hanne falls down a flight of stairs, her injury is an unusual but real condition--the loss of her native language. She is left speaking only Japanese, a language learned later in life. With her personal life at a crossroad, Hanne leaves for Japan. There, the Japanese novelist whose work she translated stunningly confronts her publicly for sabotaging his work…and she realizes how she has translated so many things in her life incorrectly.
The language is stunningly beautiful and captures so much. It gave me an appreciation for the art of translation and made me wonder how many things we have misinterpreted in our lives by seeing only our own perspective.