The Task of This Translator

The Task of This Translator

Todd Hasak-Lowy / Aug 21, 2019

The Task of This Translator Stylistically daring morally perplexing and outrageously funny Todd Hasak Lowy s The Task of This Translator marks the debut of a writer of extraordinary talent In these seven stories Hasak Lowy f

  • Title: The Task of This Translator
  • Author: Todd Hasak-Lowy
  • ISBN: 9780156031127
  • Page: 358
  • Format: Paperback
  • Stylistically daring, morally perplexing, and outrageously funny, Todd Hasak Lowy s The Task of This Translator marks the debut of a writer of extraordinary talent In these seven stories, Hasak Lowy finds entry into daunting matters such as genocide and obesity through the absurd experiences of a series of unlikely protagonists A journalist sets out to write an investigaStylistically daring, morally perplexing, and outrageously funny, Todd Hasak Lowy s The Task of This Translator marks the debut of a writer of extraordinary talent In these seven stories, Hasak Lowy finds entry into daunting matters such as genocide and obesity through the absurd experiences of a series of unlikely protagonists A journalist sets out to write an investigative piece on a dieting company that uses bodyguards to protect overeaters from themselves but loses his bearings when he becomes a client and is paired up with a bodyguard of his own In the coffee shop of Israel s Holocaust memorial museum, a stale pastry triggers a brawl between an American tourist and the Israeli cashier A man misplaces his wallet shortly before a nuclear exchange between India and Pakistan An unwilling and mostly unqualified slacker finds himself cast into the role of translator for the bitter reunion of a family torn apart years earlier by unspecified brutality.A standout story collection, The Task of This Translator is funny, intricate, and deeply human.

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      Published :2018-09-13T09:03:17+00:00

    About "Todd Hasak-Lowy"

      • Todd Hasak-Lowy

        VERY SHORT BIO My name is Todd, and I ve been writing books for about fifteen years I started writing books for adults, but now I write books for kids and teenagers, too My most recent book is a middle grade novel called 33 MINUTES I ve also published a short story collection THE TASK OF THIS TRANSLATOR and the novel CAPTIVES In addition to writing fiction, I teach creative writing I live in Evanston, Illinois just outside Chicago , with my wife, two daughters, a dog, and two catsCH LONGER AND NOT NECESSARILY INTERESTING BIO I was born in Detroit and raised in its suburbs I m the second of three brothers All of us were born in May Other than my immediate family, the most important part of my childhood was going to Camp Tavor in Three Rivers, Michigan Tavor is part of a Labor Zionist youth movement called Habonim Dror After high school I spent a year in Israel living on a kibbutz sort of a collective farm I worked in irrigation.I attended the University of Michigan as an undergrad I majored in Near Eastern and North African Studies I knew by around age 20 that I wanted to become a professor, and I knew that I wanted to study Israel and the Middle East But it took me a while to decide which field or discipline I wanted to pursue.I wound up settling on Comparative Literature I attended the University of California, Berkeley for graduate school, where I started in 1994 There I studied Hebrew and Arabic literature, though by the time I was writing my dissertation I was only working on Hebrew literature The weird thing about being at Berkeley, especially at first, was that I really had no idea how to study literature My major at Michigan had been interdisciplinary, with an emphasis on history I had always loved reading novels, but had never done so with much systematic instruction Suddenly I was attending arguably the top school for studying literature in the world, and I was lost My first few semesters at Berkeley, were, needless to say, difficult.But when I started making sense of fiction and narrative in general , the payoff was huge I still remember, sitting in my younger brother s apartment both my brothers moved to San Francisco around the time I moved to Berkeley , reading some comic or graphic novel that was clearly in the tradition of R Crumb or Harvey Pekar I was amazed how the author was able to represent an entire imagined world, and that this world was utterly specific and alive, and that the author was creating all this through some remarkable combination of decisions, techniques, ideas, etc.I guess that may have been an epiphany of sorts It was definitely, for me, a before and after moment I suddenly realized in some way, Oh, this this writing stories is really interesting, and somehow no longer 100% mysterious, and so maybe I could do it I had always had a creative impulse one that largely manifested itself from a young age with my behaving like a clown , but I never had a form or a medium to work in Now I sensed I may have found one I started writing a few months later, with the help of two novels Nicholson Baker s The Mezzanine and Yaakov Shabtai s Past Continuous These two works, each in its own way, offered me very particular models for forging my own prose My voice as a writer, such as it is, came out almost fully formed right away Sometimes you get lucky.During the second half of graduate school graduate school lasted a LONG time, eight years , I worked on my dissertation and when I had both time and inspiration wrote short stories on the side In other words, most of the time I wasn t writing fiction I was fortunate to be put in touch with Simon Lipskar, who agreed to become my agent after seeing a few of my early stories He helped me slowly put together a collection.In 2002, I relocated with my wife and daughter to Gainesville, Florida, because I got a job teaching Hebrew language and literature


    1. Indulge me for a second. We're going to play a game of literary differentiation. I'll post a few passages from a book below, and you tell me if the passage was written by Todd Hasak-Lowy or David Foster Wallace, author of Infinite Jest.Ready?1. Keep in mind that that the guy asking most of the questions sweats a great deal, as in constantly, as in he would cause the makeup/sweat artist for Gatorade ads to fear for his or her job. He sweats so much he long ago stopped paying it much notice, so th [...]

    2. I like this book. I am giving it 5 stars.I read this book in the basement of a house in Jersey City, New Jersey.I was alone but I grinned a lot and read a lot of it at one time.

    3. i like "will power, inc." esp. the part where the man is eating other people's dessert and his 'guardian' grabs his wrist and makes him drop the spoon. i also like the interview story where the interviewer asks the interviewee what the university trained him to say when answering the questions. it made me think 'what if everytime i interviewed for a job, i told the absolute truth; would i ever get a job?" like people are so used to those little lies that the truth is shocking, kind of.

    4. One of the most interesting collections of short stories I've read in a long time. It took a while to get Hasak'Lowy's bleak, black sense of humor, but once I did I went quickly from story to story -- unusual for me in short story collections.

    5. Hasak-Lowy's wit and imagination are right in line with the sort of stories I enjoy reading. Very smart. Very funny.

    6. I hate the concept of reviewing a book I haven't actually finished, but I couldn't finish this. The stories have interesting premises and the writing is almost fun, but the smugness and naval gazing and repetitive construction/thematic elements/being smug was just too much. I somehow both liked the stories I read enough that I almost gave this book a three and had to stop reading it because I hated it, so compromise, I guess.

    7. באחרית הדבר למהדורה העברית, כותב טוד חזק - לואי:"הרבה לפני 11 בספטמבר 2001 וכל הטרגדיות שבאו בעקבות היום ההוא - שאפילו פה, אפילו בפרוורים המשגשגים והרגועים לכאורה, שהמצב האמיתי שונה מכפי שנדמה; שמתחת לפני השטח מתקיים עולם אחר, עולם מסובך ובהול, עולם שבכוחה של הספרות לחשוף. פעמים הר [...]

    8. I had such varied feelings about the stories in this collection that I had to break it down and rate them individually. Overall average rating: 3.28 - despite a few truly good stories, the duds dragged down my rating.On the Grounds of the Complex Commemorating the Nazis' Treatment of the Jews: 2 stars. I'm not even sure why this story was put in the collection, except it lends to the pervasive theme of violent Israelis that ties together this little collection. A rocky start to an otherwise fair [...]

    9. Musing on connection and alienation, Hasak-Lowy often forces his characters into wild circumstances and contortions. In the title story a nebbish serves reluctantly as the translator for a warring family, but manages to broker an unexpected truce. In another story a journalist investigates a diet company that goes to extremes to control overeaters, and finds himself sucked in as a client. Hasak-Lowy's humor is sardonic and his interest in detail is exhaustive, sometimes reminiscent of David Fost [...]

    10. I'm sure Hasak Lowy has been compared to David Foster Wallace. There is something about his subject matter and his obsessive rhythm that bring DFW to mind. But with DFW you soon realize that you are reading the writing of someone who is slightly demented, who may be going off the rails, and you realize that there is a risk in following him where he seems to be going.Hasak Lowy is a little more calculating, which makes his stories a little less scary. They are, however, thoroughly enjoyable. ESPE [...]

    11. This book made me sad because it came thisclose to true greatnessd blew it. Each short story started with an amazing concept and the beginning actually made my heart beat faster - then he blew it. To make sure, I asked the much-smarter than me friend (there is more than one to choose from, of course, but this one also reads very very fast) and she agreed. We thought we could give our hearts to this book, and then it let us down. I am not sure it is not better to start out mediocre and fulfill th [...]

    12. The stories are very enjoyable--I recommend to anyone who likes Michael Chabon or postmodern fiction. I love the former but don't have strong feelings about the latter, and so I got to the end of a few of the stories and felt like I'd missed something. That being said, with the exception of The End of Larry's Wallet, I blasted through all of the stories and found myself laughing quite frequently.

    13. I enjoyed these stories very much. I picked up my copy in a used bookstore because the title caught my eye. I used to not like short stories, but this book helped me fall in love with them all over again.

    14. These were quite insightful short stories, well written, with a touch of humor. The title story was excellent - about a reluctant student translator thrown into a alarming situation, touching and thought provoking.

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