The Translation of Dr Apelles

The Translation of Dr Apelles
A Love Story
David Treuer

“[David Treuer] is mounting a challenge to the whole idea of Indian identity as depicted by both Native and white writers.”—New York Times

“In David Treuer’s deeply crafty, shape-shifting third novel, The Translation of Dr Apelles he echoes Virgil….He seems to want to do for Native American culture and literature what James Joyce did for the Irish: haul it into the mainstream of Western culture through sheer nerve and verve.”Washington Post Book World

About the Book

A daring and unique novel that firmly places Treuer, author of Little, at the forefront of his generation of writers.

He shakes, and looks down at the document, just a few small pages, and looks back up at the ceiling. He realizes he has discovered a document that could change his life forever. It also occurs to him that he has never been in love. What a strange sensation.

Dr. Apelles lives a diligent existence. A Native American translator of Native American literature, his life has become solitary and academic. It is when he stumbles across an extremely old manuscript--a love story--that only he can translate, that the rules--the very words--which define his life begin to shift. Is it his place to give meaning to this ancient story? Can language be trusted? And what, more importantly, does he know of love? With a shock of discovery, he realizes that he has never been in love. As the translation progresses, the story of Dr. Apelles takes many fascinating forms.

A brillant, innovative mystery of letters, award-winning author, David Treuer, excavates the persistent myths that belittle the contemporary Native American experience. He shows how the power of imagination can liberate or circumscribe, and poses the question: whose power is greater: the imagined, or the one who imagines.

Praise for Little:

"Treuer's accomplishment is a wonder."--Toni Morrison

"Treuer is truly an original voice."--The San Francisco Chronicle

Additional Reviews

“Treuer’s edgy romance celebrates our love for each other, love for the earth and love of story, the way we make sense of life in all its wildness.”—Los Angeles Times 

“[The Translation of Dr Apelles is] a novel that is so intellectually rigorous and emotionally stirring, we’ve already told everyone who will listen to read it. And now, we’re telling you.”—Time Out Chicago

“A myriad of false documents, questionable authorships, stalled sexual encounters, and narrative disjunctions, Dr. Apelles is not to be mistaken, like the books that take the most heat in Treuer’s essays, for an anthropological project. To the contrary, Treuer pushes the metatextual games of writers like J.M. Coetzee and A.S. Byatt past the point of parody.”—Village Voice