Translator CL

Ward S. Just, Author
Ward S. Just, Author Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH) $21.95 (313p) ISBN 978-0-395-57168-2
Mass Market Paperbound - 978-0-8041-1022-8
Paperback - 320 pages - 978-0-395-95766-0
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Just's ( Twenty-one ) extraordinarily suggestive intelligence is given full play in this commanding psychological and political novel. Sydney Van Damm has exiled himself from his native Germany, establishing himself in Paris at a German-American foundation impurely funded by ``Uncle Sugar,'' then becoming a literary translator. Angela, his wife, has similarly rejected her heritage--the daughter of a leisure-loving Maine widower, she trades an upper-class upbringing for Sydney's modest Paris flat. Having foreclosed on their pasts, the couple faces a not particularly promising future: their only child is irremediably handicapped and the flat grows claustrophobic. Meanwhile, the 1990 economic and political upheavals throughout Europe and the U.S. bring unhappy surprises. They also bring opportunities, as Sydney's old connection to the Uncle Sugar circuit points out, proposing that Sydney serve as translator for a shifty deal involving stolen Warsaw Pact arms. Ward discloses his story with a card shark's timing and shrewdness, allowing events to serve a symbolic role without compromising their dramatic value, flattering the reader with his restraint and insight. (Sept.)
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