Problems of Translation: Charlie's Comic, Terrifying, Romantic, Loopy Round-the-World Journey in Search of Linguistic Happiness

Problems of Translation: Charlie's Comic, Terrifying, Romantic, Loopy Round-the-World Journey in Search of Linguistic Happiness

by Jim Story


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"Exceptional, original, deftly crafted from beginning to end, ... an inherently fascinating, unique, funny, and compelling read ...very highly recommended...."--Midwest Book Review

"A comic masterpiece" "Poignant" "Pretty much perfectly done"

and A Shelf Unbound 2015 Notable Book

Charles Abel Baker--short story writer and a "most unlikely middle-aged hero"--sets off around the world on a quest to see one of his short stories translated into ten different languages and back again into English, a sort of literary version of the old party game "telephone. In Moscow, St. Petersburg, Siberia, China, India, Iceland, Japan, Mexico, and more, Charlie's round-the-world peregrinations are comical, romantic and, at times, hair-raising.

Problems of Translation is a cloak-and-dagger adventure, a love story, and a bracing ride for the language buff. Its naïve hero's quixotic mission will ultimately transform Charlie and those around him. And along the way, Charlie--lonely, divorced--comes to love and be loved by a generous, complicated woman, and at last to understand what drove him to undertake this journey.

Who knew that literary translation could be so perilous? So romantic? So downright funny? A rousing hybrid and a great read, Problems of Translation is as stimulating as it is entertaining.

"An insanely amusing adventure that has a deep love of language at its belly-shaking core."-Gary Shteyngart, author of Little Failure and A Super Sad True Love Story

"Jim Story's name says it all: he was meant to be a writer...I hope everyone reads this book!"-Hannah Tinti, author of The Good Thief; editor-in-chief of One Story

"In this comic masterpiece...we take a wild ride...through the underside of the literary [Charlie] stumbles and careens into all kinds of trouble in and obsessive pursuit of hid Dream."-Robert Roth, author of Health Proxy; editor, co-creator of And Then

"A fascinating look at the issues of translation, publishing, and an unglamorous middle-age."-Edith Grossman, author of Why Translation Matters; award-winning translator of Cervantes, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, and others

"...Marvelous touches of...poignancy that don't...delay the progress of the story toward it's delectable conclusion...pretty much perfectly done."-Ron Story (no relation), Emeritus Professor, UMass Amherst; author of Jonathan Edwards and the Gospel of Love

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780986238208
Publisher: Blue Mile Books
Publication date: 04/24/2015
Pages: 396
Product dimensions: 5.25(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.88(d)

About the Author

Author of the recently published and much-acclaimed novel Problems of Translation, or Charlie's Comic, Terrifying, Romantic, Loopy Round-the-World Journey in Search of Linguistic Happiness, Jim Story is a novelist, short-story writer and poet.

A former Okie blues singer and Russian history professor, Jim has published short stories, essays, reviews and poetry in Confrontation, The Same, Karamu, Folio, Pindeldyboz, Helicon, Aspen Anthology, Berkeley Poetry Review, Steelhead Review, Now, Paper Boat, Hyn Poetry Anthology, Poets, Big City Lit, Long Island University Magazine, And Then, and Home Planet News, for which he served several years as Executive Editor. He's been nominated for a Pushcart Prize (for a series of poems called "Notes of a Forty-Year Old Country Boy"), won a Best New Writers Award from Poets & Writers, and held a residency at the Edward Albee Center in Montauk, Long Island. He has studied with Ben Fountain at a Zoetrope Conference in Belize in 2007 and with Jim Shepard at Sirenland in Positano, Italy.

A story called "Milwaukee Dawn" appeared this week (June 2015) in Forthcoming publications will include a collection of short stories called Love and Other Terminal Diseases and a novella called Wounded by History, which National Book Critics Circle award winner Ben Fountain has already called "swift, profound and engaging." His cultural and literary blog can be accessed at by clicking on Today's Story.

Born in Oklahoma and raised on a ranch in the San Joaquin valley in California, Jim holds a PhD from Columbia University, a certificate from the Harriman Institute, and has taught at Whitman College in the state of Washington, as well as Long Island University (Brooklyn Center) and Lehman College in New York. Jim, a former San Joaquin Valley Small Schools Tennis Champion in high school (singles and doubles), is an enthusiastic follower of tennis and jazz. He lives in New York City, where he is currently at work on his next novel.

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