I read a lot of books about Japan and people’s experiences in Japan. I also read books in which Japan is the setting for the story. I am drawn to them and I spend a fair amount of time searching for them. This is probably because I am trying to find someone who has had similar experiences to mine. When I think deeply about this, I realize that I probably won’t find it, and in fact, don’t really want to find it. This search led me to check Nina Schuyler’s book “The Translator” out of my library. When I read the summary, I was pretty sure that this book was in no way related to my experience, but would still be a good read. In fact, it turned out to be a great read.
This is by no means a professional review. I just want to say a few words about the book and then you can choose to read it or choose not to read it. If you would like to read more about the story, you can read the synopsis online.
What I found interesting about this book was that the main character revealed herself to the reader at the same time as she came to understand herself. That is to say the reader was constantly challenged with both positive and negative aspects of the main character. At each turn, I alternately felt sympathy and frustration. I rooted for her and I was angry with her.
I hope that this doesn’t sound harsh because I mean it as a compliment. Ms. Schuyler has been able to keep me guessing, keep me reading and keep me from taking anything for granted. Too often I am faced with stark black and white when I am really looking for something murkier and less obvious.
Though the book’s connection to Japan lead me there, it wasn’t that connection which kept me there. I stayed because it is a book worth reading.