The Translation of Dr. Apelles

The Translation of Dr. Apelles

by David Treuer
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The Translation of Dr. Apelles by David Treuer

A daring new novel that "may be David Treuer's best book" (Charles Baxter)

He realizes he has discovered a document that could change his life forever.

Dr Apelles, Native American translator of Native American texts, lives a diligent existence. He works at a library and, in his free time, works on his translations. Without his realizing it, his world has become small. One day he stumbles across an ancient manuscript only he can translate. What begins as a startling discovery quickly becomes a vital quest—not only to translate the document but to find love. Through the riddle of Dr Apelles's heart, The Translation of Dr Apelles explores the boundaries of human emotion, charts the power of the language to both imprison and liberate, and maps the true dimensions of the Native American experience. As Dr Apelles's quest nears its surprising conclusion, the novel asks the reader to speculate on whose power is greater: The imaginer or the imagined? The lover or the beloved?

In this brilliant mystery of letters in the tradition of Calvino, Borges, and Saramago, David Treuer excavates the persistent myths that belittle the contemporary Native American experience and lays bare the terrible power of the imagination.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781555974510
Publisher: Graywolf Press
Publication date: 08/22/2006
Pages: 256
Product dimensions: 6.51(w) x 9.21(h) x 1.18(d)

About the Author

DAVID TREUER is Ojibwe from the Leech Lake Reservation in northern Minnesota. He is the award-winning author of two previous novels, Little and The Hiawatha. He teaches literature and creative writing at the University of Minnesota.

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The Translation of Dr. Apelles 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
LisaDunckley 7 months ago
This book is a story within a story—which I love. Beautifully written, both tales are compelling. Dr. Apelles is a translator who has found an old Indian story that is in a language that only he can read. His every day job is to sort books in an archive, where he is slowly falling in love with the beautiful Campaspe (once he can believe that someone like her could be interested in him!). This is complicated by his boss, who seems to have feelings for him, and a coworker, who is also interested in Campaspe. Dr. Apelles has a rather passive life, so the book describes the process where he stirred to action by the chance of love and the chance of having a life. The other story is the translated text. It is about two different Indian children who are each the lone survivor of their family/clan/village, who are adopted into other families, and who fall in love themselves. Once again, the path to true love is riddled with competitors, kidnappers, attempted murder, and the whims of fate. What I liked about this book was the lyrical writing. It was a pleasure to read each sentence. I liked Dr. Apelles' character, he was hardly the typical leading man, and it was a heartwarming story to read of his romance. I loved the translated story, lots of lore from old Indian tales. The story seemed to me to be part legend and part perhaps something that actually happened and was maybe handed down through oral tradition until it was written down? Enjoyable, satisfying read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
LOVE the structure of this book! Really enjoying the read. Not quite to the end, but doubt even a bad ending can ruin how creatively, and beautifully this book is written.
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