Synopses & Reviews
Set in China, a country struggling to reconcile its past and determine its future "Lost in Translation" is a novel of discovery -- of bones from an ancient past, of love in a foreign land, and for Alice Mannegan, an American translator living in Beijing, of her true self. When Alice takes an assignment as translator for American archeologist Dr. Adam Spencer, she is pulled into a search for not only the bones of the elusive Peking Man, but also for her own identity in a world so far from home. With "Lost in Translation", Nicole Mones makes an inspired and remarkable debut.
American interpretor Alice Mannegan goes by more than one name. When she's on the job, representing her English-speaking clients to China's business and political elite, she uses the name Mo Ai-Ii, a respectable, old-fashioned name. When she retreats to the smoke-filled karaoke bars of Beijing's underside, she calls herself Yulian, fragrant lotus, and the Chinese men she so desires never misunderstand her or her intentions.
But at the core of this constant role playing lies her restless spirit. Determined to escape the legacy of her racist father, Alice seeks to lose herself in the very heart of China. In fact, Alice Mannegan wants nothing more than to be Chinese. When offered an assignment to act as interpretor for Dr. Adam Spencer, an American archeologist in search of the elusive Peking Man, Nice can't refuse. Joined by two Chinese professors, including Dr. Lin Shiyang, a specialist in homo erectus, the four set out among the breathtaking desert landscape of northwest China to retrace the steps of Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, the exiled priest who discovered Peking Man Just before World War II created chaos inthe East.
As they come closer to tracking down Peking Man, each unearths the demons in his or her own past. Spencer struggles to win the love of his estranged son, Lin to reconcile the ghost of his long-lost wife, a victim of the Cultural Revolution, and Alice to repair the past with her now dying father. Seeking solace and love in one another, Lin and Nice begin to help each other heal, and move on to an uncertain future.
Marked by the vast landscape of a timeless country, unforgettable characters and grand themes, "Lost in Translation" is an extraordinary and intelligent debut.
A novel of searing intelligence and startling originality, Lost in Translation heralds the debut of a unique new voice on the literary landscape. Nicole Mones creates an unforgettable story of love and desire, of family ties and human conflict, and of one woman's struggle to lose herself in a foreign land--only to discover her home, her heart, herself.
At dawn in Beijing, Alice Mannegan pedals a bicycle through the deserted streets. An American by birth, a translator by profession, she spends her nights in Beijing's smoke-filled bars, and the Chinese men she so desires never misunderstand her intentions. All around her rushes the air of China, the scent of history and change, of a world where she has come to escape her father's love and her own pain. It is a world in which, each night as she slips from her hotel, she hopes to lose herself forever.
For Alice, it began with a phone call from an American archaeologist seeking a translator. And it ended in an intoxicating journey of the heart--one that would plunge her into a nation's past, and into some of the most rarely glimpsed regions of China. Hired by an archaeologist searching for the bones of Peking Man, Alice joins an expedition that penetrates a vast, uncharted land and brings Professor Lin Shiyang into her life. As they draw closer to unearthing the secret of Peking Man, as the group's every move is followed, their every whisper recorded, Alice and Lin find shelter in each other, slowly putting to rest the ghosts of their pasts. What happens between them becomes one of the most breathtakingly erotic love stories in recent fiction. Indeed, Lost in Translation is a novel about love--between a nation and its past, between a man and a memory, between a father and a daughter. Its powerful impact confirms the extraordinary gifts of a master storyteller, Nicole Mones.
About the Author
Nicole Mones has traveled and worked extensively in China since 1977. She lives with her family in Portland, Oregon.