Customer Reviews for

Lost in Translation: A Life in a New Language

Average Rating 3.5
( 12 )
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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 4, 2002

    The Stars are for her Grasp of the English Language, but she's no Nabokov

    I read Lost in Translation for a class on exile writers at Smith College. As a comparative literature major, I was accustomed to reading a great variety of texts that ranged from fantastic works of art to writing that seemed laden with opium. Lost in Translation is one of the most obnoxiously self-indulgent books I have ever read. Although she uses language well, her mastery of metphor and subtlety cannot excuse her self-aggrandizement. I am sure there were other intelligent individuals in the Poland of her childhood.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 26, 2014

    I Also Recommend:

    ¿Lost in Translation¿ a memoir about the life of Eva Hoffman and

    “Lost in Translation” a memoir about the life of Eva Hoffman and her experiences dealing with coming of age and migrated to a new world at the same time. As the protagonist of the story, she guides on her adventure through learning about the English language from a Polish perspective and lets the reader in on her insight. Not only does she manage to point out the differences between the two cultures, but the conflict within herself to choose whether to accept or reject it. 
    After the end of World War II Eva and her family finds themselves packing their bags to venture from Poland to Canada. As the reader, it becomes obvious that Eva will have major struggles in adjusting to the new culture, for a variety of different reasons. She distances herself form others in a way to not allow her to fully engage in the English language, as she often uses Polish in the text to describe some of her emotional feelings towards her new life. One particular word that shows up several times in the text is Tesknota that Hoffman uses to describe deep sensations. Hoffman illustrates this by “Tesknota throws a film over everything around me, and directs my vision inward” (115). In this instance, Hoffman is using the word to describe a sensation of isolation, by which she feels lost in Vancouver. However, on a greater scale I think she uses this word to help her illustrate her longing form home. After several years, she finds herself applying for college to American schools and quickly begins to realize how important English will be in order for her to be successful at a university. Towards the end of the novel, she is able to find within herself why English is so important and why it is necessary in order to unveil her true self. 

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 25, 2014

    Lost in Translation by Eva Hoffman is a novel recounting Eva¿s l

    Lost in Translation by Eva Hoffman is a novel recounting Eva’s life from her struggling childhood years to her mature years as an adult. Part 1, Paradise, starts out in Eva’s younger years in Poland. The setting is post World War 2 as Eva and her family struggle from the terrible infliction of the war. Even though times are tough in this point of the novel overall life is joyful for Eva and her family. Part 2, Exile, describes Eva and her family’s journey to this new world, “North America” more specifically Canada.  During this time, we see a young foreign girl and her family in a sate of bafflement and confusion as they learn to adjust to their new surroundings, language, and backgrounds. Also it illustrates to the reader the many struggles that immigrants encounter when they aren’t prepared for a new world that is much more different from their home. Eva takes on the tasks of conquering this new language and background despite still being hurt from the exile of her homeland. Furthermore the family must also take into account where they live, job situations, and the way people interact with them as a whole. Part 3, The New World, starts out with Eva receiving a scholarship to rice university. At this time in the novel Eva and her family seem to be well adjusted to America and now seem fit to call it their home. It is here where Eva comes more Americanized and seizes to stop this mind war so to speak that has been going on with her polish roots and her new American lifestyle. In this last section of the novel Eva goes through new but exciting experiences that allows her to get a grasp an idea of what she wants to accomplish in the future; including not only her goals and aspirations but also her love and plans for her family. 

    I really enjoyed this novel because I have family members who were immigrants and this novel put me in perspective of what they must of went through in their journeys to America.  I recommend to those readers who enjoy books that have to do with this so-called idea of the American Dream. I believe that this novel brings many topics referring to immigration and readers who enjoy this particular topic should read Lost in Translation.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 2, 2005

    A bit rambling...

    Eva Hoffman is not a great writer. At times she uses over fancy language and too many metaphors to make sense of the internal struggle she is going through to learn a new language and adapt to a new world. However, if you are a Jew and are trying to get 'back in touch with your roots' and understand what it means to be a Jew and what is was like growing up in Poland before emmigrating to the US, you will enjoy bits and pieces of this book. At times the book got so tedious, I skimmed, which is something I hate to do but I just had to.

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