I find myself actually trying to dampen the exhilaration I feel, but really, I’m walking on air from all the pre-publication comments my comic novel, Problems of Translation, due out early this year, is getting. I keep having to pinch myself.
Consider this: Gary Shteyngart called my book, “An insanely funny adventure that has a deep love of language at its belly-shaking core.”
Those words are especially pleasing, of course, coming from a man who not only wrote the hilarious, best-selling Little Failure and the wonderful, heartbreaking Super Sad True Love Story, as well as The Russian Debutante’s Handbook and Absurdistan!
And consider the comments of Robert Roth, Health Proxy author and co-creator and editor of the litmag, And Then. Roth wrote, in part: “The greatest comedians by the slightest of gestures—maybe an arching of an eyebrow or a pregnant pause—can send an audience falling off their seats in laughter. There are moments in Problems of Translation, where even a ‘The’ at the beginning of a sentence would have me laughing out loud. For I knew something wild, uproarious and totally unexpected was about to happen next.” He goes on to call Problems a “…comic masterpiece, an adventure, a mystery story of intrigue, betrayal and total absurdity….”
Or how about the words of Hilary Orbach? Orbach (Transgressions and Other Stories) enjoyed my character’s “ lively and sometimes disastrous romp. . ., ” and my “engaging style, … turbulent imagination,” “seemingly inexhaustible fund of cultural and literary lore,” and “passion—indeed, as he calls it, a ‘reverence’—for language.” And Edith Grossman, the award-winning translator of Cervantes, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, and Mario Vargas Llosa, found my novel “A fascinating look at the issues of translation, publishing, and an unglamorous middle-age.”
And there’s Ron Story (no relation), to cite another example. Story is Professor Emeritus at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and author of Jonathan Edwards and the Gospel of Love, among other fine titles. He wrote that Problems has “…touches of true poignancy that don’t, however, delay the progress of the story toward its delectable conclusion. It’s pretty much perfectly done.”
All of which seems to justify the subtitle I recently conferred on my book: Charlie’s Comic, Terrifying, Romantic, Loopy Round-the-World Journey in Search of Linguistic Happiness.
The book is due out in a few months, and when that happens, I hope that others of you out there will enjoy the book as much as these folks have! Meanwhile, have a Happy, Merry, Prosperous, Peaceful and Exhilarating New Year!