Klein on Ge Fei's Invisibility Cloak by Morse
We’re all familiar with unreliable narrators, those first-person storytellers whose words we are not sure we can trust. In The Invisibility Cloak, Ge Fei takes this to the next level: he gives us an unreliable narrator in an unreliable career struggling with unreliable characters in an unreliable country.
What is reliable in The Invisibility Cloak is the translation. This is Canaan Morse’s first full-length novel, but he is one of a new generation of ambitious translators who are redefining standards of quality in writing English without sacrificing accuracy in treating the Chinese. Lexical range tends to flatten in translation, but checking his English against what Ge Fei wrote I am again and again impressed with Morse’s vocabulary, and his ability to find lively, expressive language that never comes off as stilted or stiff. This is essential for any work in translation, of course, but when the work revolves, as it does here, around questions both of reliability and communicability, it is an added bonus that readers do not need to worry about whether The Invisibility Cloak’s inner life has been left alone in another language.
attached to: The Invisibility Cloak