Hasak-Lowy, Fortune-Teller

The Task of This TranslatorTodd Hasak-Lowy‘s forthcoming short story collection, The Task of This Translator (which doesn’t officially appear until June, 2005), succeeds at the difficult business of mixing broad social satire with empathy for the individual. I haven’t been so jazzed about a debut collection in years.

I’ll offer more specific praise closer to the pub date. For now I’ll just post a couple of paragraphs from his publisher’s surprisingly apt press release:

In these seven stories, Hasak-Lowy captures the absurdity that often arises when very personal crises intersect with global issues….

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.

I mention The Task of This Translator because TMFTML’s latest “Great Moments in Journalism” — “Tsunami drives up Christmas paper sales” — is the stuff Hasak-Lowy’s collection is made of.


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