The Translation of Dr Apelles by David Treuer
A Love Story

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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.


About David Treuer

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David Treuer is the author of three novels-Little, The Hiawatha, and The Translation of Dr. Appeles-and Native American Fiction: A User's Manual, a book of essays. He divides his time between Los Angeles and Leech Lake Reservation in Minnesota.
Published May 21, 2013 by Graywolf Press. 338 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for The Translation of Dr Apelles

BC Books

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The story of Bimaadiz and Eta includes a depiction of a traditional reservation lifestyle, and even features occasional untranslated words from native languages, but the story of Dr. Apelles is at once more familiar and more foreign, because it is set in our world, or one very much like it.

Feb 11 2008 | Read Full Review of The Translation of Dr Apelles...

California Literary Review

RECAP is described early in the book as “a sacred location where every book had its place”: maybe that’s what the Christian nativity allusions suggest?) The advantage of reading Ms Manger as the novel’s Alexander, though, is that Alexander loved Campaspe but she didn’t return his love, so when he...

Apr 24 2007 | Read Full Review of The Translation of Dr Apelles...

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