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The Task of This Translator

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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

"If Hasak-Lowy were a juggler, he would be the kind who could juggle an elephant and an orange at the same time. Instead he is a writer whose stories combine the global with the personal in ways that are incisive, thought-provoking, smart and, most importantly, FUNNY."--Myla Goldberg, author of Bee Season

Stylistically daring, morally perplexing, and outrageously funny, Todd Hasak-Lowy's The Task of This Translator marks the debut of a writer of extraordinary talent. In these seven stories, Hasak-Lowy finds entry into daunting matters such as genocide and obesity through the absurd experiences of a series of unlikely protagonists.

A journalist sets out to write an investigative piece on a dieting company that uses bodyguards to protect overeaters from themselves, but loses his journalistic bearings when he becomes a client and is paired up with a bodyguard of his own. In the coffee shop of Israel's Holocaust memorial museum a stale pastry triggers a brawl between an American tourist and the Israeli cashier. An unwilling and mostly unqualified slacker finds himself cast into the role of translator for the bitter reunion of a family torn apart years earlier by unspecified brutality.

"Todd Hasak-Lowy's brilliant combination of cynicism and compassion gives his storytelling its unique power."--Etgar Keret, author of The Bus Driver Who Wanted To Be God

Todd Hasak-Lowy was born in Detroit. He is an assistant professor of modern Hebrew literature at the University of Florida in Gainesville, where he lives with his wife and two daughters.

Review:

"Overeducated and underemployed protagonists bottom out on stalled careers and foundering relationships in Hasak-Lowy's intelligent collection. In the strongest stories, he locates the depressive slumps of his pained, emotionally true characters in a pointed critique of American culture — the alienation of late capitalism, the superficiality of mass media, the corrosive effects of consumerism and the national obsession with gluttony and dieting. A grad student cum journalist profiles an expensive weight-loss company in the wry 'Will Power, Inc.' But when, for the piece, he retains a 'diet escort' to forcibly prevent him from eating, he's tempted to binge, and his body balloons. Hasak-Lowy artfully reveals layers of personal and national identity in the grim 'On the Grounds of the Complex Commemorating the Nazis' Treatment of the Jews,' about an Israeli ex-journalist working in the cafe at Yad Vashem who clashes with an American businessman over a stale pastry. The most ambitious story, 'The End of Larry's Wallet, ' weaves Larry's personal struggle with a failed marriage and sick daughter with a critique of TV coverage of destruction on a near-unimaginable scale: 18 million dead in a nuclear exchange between India and Pakistan. The collection's more modest — and more mannered — stories feature alienated young men with estranged or deceased fathers. Though the selections are uneven, the collection's best work indicates the arrival of a cogent new Jewish-American voice. Agent, Simon Lipskar. (June)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)

Synopsis:

The author captures the absurdity that often arises when very personal crises intersect with global issues such as ethnic violence, obesity, and the media in this collection of short stories.

Synopsis:

Stylistically daring, morally perplexing, and outrageously funny, Todd Hasak-Lowy's The Task of This Translator marks the debut of a writer of extraordinary talent. In these seven stories, Hasak-Lowy captures the absurdity that often arises when very personal crises intersect with global issues such as ethnic violence, obesity, and the media.

A journalist sets out to write an investigative piece on a dieting company that uses bodyguards to protect overeaters from themselves but loses his bearings when he becomes a client and is paired up with a bodyguard of his own. In the coffee shop of Israel's Holocaust memorial museum, a stale pastry triggers a brawl between an American tourist and the Israeli cashier. A man misplaces his wallet shortly before a nuclear exchange between India and Pakistan. An unwilling and mostly unqualified slacker finds himself cast into the role of translator for the bitter reunion of a family torn apart years earlier by unspecified brutality.

A standout story collection, The Task of This Translator is funny, intricate, and deeply human.

About the Author

TODD HASAK-LOWY was born in Detroit. He teaches Hebrew language and literature at the University of Florida and lives in Gainesville, Florida.

Product Details

ISBN:
9780156031127
Author:
Hasak-lowy, Todd
Publisher:
Harvest Books
Author:
Hasak-Lowy, Todd
Subject:
Short Stories (single author)
Subject:
General Fiction
Subject:
Stories (single author)
Subject:
Literature-A to Z
Edition Description:
Trade Paper
Publication Date:
20050631
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Language:
English
Pages:
272
Dimensions:
8 x 5.31 in 0.56 lb

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Related Subjects


Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z

The Task of This Translator New Trade Paper
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$15.95 In Stock
Product details 272 pages Harvest Books - English 9780156031127 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "Overeducated and underemployed protagonists bottom out on stalled careers and foundering relationships in Hasak-Lowy's intelligent collection. In the strongest stories, he locates the depressive slumps of his pained, emotionally true characters in a pointed critique of American culture — the alienation of late capitalism, the superficiality of mass media, the corrosive effects of consumerism and the national obsession with gluttony and dieting. A grad student cum journalist profiles an expensive weight-loss company in the wry 'Will Power, Inc.' But when, for the piece, he retains a 'diet escort' to forcibly prevent him from eating, he's tempted to binge, and his body balloons. Hasak-Lowy artfully reveals layers of personal and national identity in the grim 'On the Grounds of the Complex Commemorating the Nazis' Treatment of the Jews,' about an Israeli ex-journalist working in the cafe at Yad Vashem who clashes with an American businessman over a stale pastry. The most ambitious story, 'The End of Larry's Wallet, ' weaves Larry's personal struggle with a failed marriage and sick daughter with a critique of TV coverage of destruction on a near-unimaginable scale: 18 million dead in a nuclear exchange between India and Pakistan. The collection's more modest — and more mannered — stories feature alienated young men with estranged or deceased fathers. Though the selections are uneven, the collection's best work indicates the arrival of a cogent new Jewish-American voice. Agent, Simon Lipskar. (June)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Synopsis" by , The author captures the absurdity that often arises when very personal crises intersect with global issues such as ethnic violence, obesity, and the media in this collection of short stories.

"Synopsis" by ,
Stylistically daring, morally perplexing, and outrageously funny, Todd Hasak-Lowy's The Task of This Translator marks the debut of a writer of extraordinary talent. In these seven stories, Hasak-Lowy captures the absurdity that often arises when very personal crises intersect with global issues such as ethnic violence, obesity, and the media.

A journalist sets out to write an investigative piece on a dieting company that uses bodyguards to protect overeaters from themselves but loses his bearings when he becomes a client and is paired up with a bodyguard of his own. In the coffee shop of Israel's Holocaust memorial museum, a stale pastry triggers a brawl between an American tourist and the Israeli cashier. A man misplaces his wallet shortly before a nuclear exchange between India and Pakistan. An unwilling and mostly unqualified slacker finds himself cast into the role of translator for the bitter reunion of a family torn apart years earlier by unspecified brutality.

A standout story collection, The Task of This Translator is funny, intricate, and deeply human.

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