I am going to start this review by saying “Oh My God”! This is a book by a newer author for me. I had read and reviewed a short story, Dicing with Danger, so knew his writing was provocative and different than many. But Stranger in Translation went far beyond my expectations. This book has everything; romance, suspense, tension, sex, mystery, unexpected surprises, violence, and above all else, subtlety and nuance. Every page has an unexpected twist or something that will surprise you and make you just keep reading. I didn’t want to put it down when I had to take breaks, and read deep into the night so I could read non-stop.
Stranger in Translation is the story of a young Englishman, working in Marseilles, translating a “biography” for one of those egomaniacal women who think their lives are so important, and that their stories are relevant, and of interest to just everyone. This part of his life he is not real impressed with. He is also an English teacher to a very spoiled young man.
His adventure in life begins when he meets a stranger on a bench in a cemetery, and it just continues throughout the time frame of the story. The man is a mystery, and the relationship is a mystery. But the main character is also, and I say this knowing it won’t give anything away, a man who up until the time of the story has not experienced his desires and his sexuality. All of this will change within this story, but there are also many other things that go on within it. Murder, maybe? Violence, maybe? Sex, definitely.
This book will keep you guessing, has so many surprises and turns that you just won’t be surprised when Charles Raines does it to you again. By the end of the book, I was enrapt. His sex scenes border on violent, but not so that you are repulsed or uncomfortable. The scenes turn from what you expect, and change into exactly the opposite. I just kept shaking my head, wondering what had just happened.
I have another of his in line to read, and I can’t wait to read it to see what he will do to me this time. I couldn’t contain my emotional responses to his writing, and will follow Charles for a long time, as long as he keeps on writing, and keeps me in flux like this.
Book Description An opinionated young linguist signs a six month contract to translate a ‘Bestseller’ from English into French, on the condition that he can do the job in France. He has nothing but contempt for the book’s author, hates the dull, routine work he has to do, and despises the banality of his own life. Something is missing. Hesitant and frustrated, his ambivalent sexual desires are untapped, but always bubbling below the surface. Feeling like an outsider, the only way to cope is to find a distraction, try to blend in, and strive to fully embrace the French way of life. The local cemetery offers shelter and serenity, and the backstreets of Marseilles offer danger and excitement. Balancing the two, he meets a succession of men and has a series of erotic encounters which gradually mould him into exactly the man he secretly always wanted to be.
Stranger in Translation was last modified: March 7th, 2014 by GGR-Review