Written in the nineties, this book’s matter of fact approach to difficult moral issues will still not appeal to all, perhaps even more so now in the era of #MeToo, but the characters of Sui and Kazami especially are compelling, and the writing has a meditative quality with many beautiful descriptive passages, and reflections on the art of translation itself.

“You become so involved with the writer’s style that it starts to feel like your own. You spend hours every day with it, and then you end up feeling that you alone had created it in the first place, and then your thoughts fall into sync with the author’s, and that’s very peculiar. Why, sometimes I get so far into the author’s thought processes that I feel no resistance at all. I become unable to distinguish my thoughts from hers, and sometimes I feel myself thinking the way she would, not just about the book, but about my own life, even when I’m not translating. Particularly if the author has a very strong personality, a translator gets drawn in so tightly, much more so than an ordinary reader would.”

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