Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Good on Paper by Rachel Cantor

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Review by Suze
Shira is working as a temp, but while she has excellent translating and literary skills she goes from job to job and is now stuffing envelopes. She loves her daughter Andi very much. They're living with Ahmad, who's Shira's gay friend. He isn't Andi's real father, but he's her dad in any other way. They're a family. When Shira gets a request to translate a manuscript for the famous poet Romei she decides to take the job. It's difficult and Shira doesn't know if the work can really be translated. The harder she works the more her private life seems to be falling apart. She might have found love, but she can't act on it. The translation is giving her sleepless nights and Ahmad and Andi are ganging up on her. Will she be able to finish the manuscript and get her life back on track?
Good on Paper is a wonderful book, a story that I will remember for a very long time. I loved the Dante references. Shira's opinions about his work are fantastic. Romei is fascinating and I loved his character, the famous poet who received a Nobel prize and who's never actually present at all, but plays a crucial part in the story. Shira is intelligent and talented, but emotionally she's a bit of a mess. She's funny and I love the way Rachel Cantor portrayed her. Reading about her put a smile on my face over and over again.
If you've studied literature or are a translator you will especially love this book. There are so many great references, interesting remarks and clever thoughts in this story. I enjoyed it so much. Shira has a messy life and her inner thoughts plus the way she phrases things when she talks are brilliant. I can't praise this novel enough. It's one of those fantastic treasures that you only come across every now and then. 


  1. It sounds like Good on Paper is a more challenging read. I bet some of the references would go over my head!