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!

Share this post:
This entry was posted in More About Jim, On Writing, Publications. Bookmark the permalink.


  1. Dina says:

    What wonderful news, Jim! And wonderful words! We are so pleased and elated for you (and your extraordinarily talented editor…). xo

    • Jim says:

      Thanks, Dina. And you were certainly right to mention my extraordinarily talented editor. I wouldn’t even have seen your comment if it weren’t for her.

  2. These are wonderful, Jim! You are on your way!

    • Jim says:

      Thanks, Eva! Sorry it’s taken so long to reply; I just thought to look at my comments today! I’m hopeful you’ll get this, but I’m not sure how this works. If you know anything about how to make it so someone can subscribe, I’d be grateful for the tip. You’ve given me such sage advice before!

  3. Amy Holman says:

    Jim, this praise is fantastic, and well-deserved. I am so happy for you. Bravo!

    • Jim says:

      Thanks, Amy! I may have told you this story already, but years ago you and I had a conversation at P & W during which I mentioned that I was so happy because I was starting on a book project that was really mine because I was confident no one else in his right mind would do it? This is the book. A good reason for following your instincts, right?

  4. Jim says:

    Thanks. On writing, find yourself a good workshop or writer’s group, where you can get solid criticism of what you produce. I think WordPress is a good platform; it’s what I use.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *