The Books of My Numberless Dreams

Translator’s Introduction

Posted on: January 30, 2007

I was looking for a book.

A very particular book in a vast and wonderful library. I found what I was looking for. It hadn’t been opened for quite a long time judging by the dust that coated the upper edge and by the way the paper had yellowed on all the sides creeping toward the gutter. When I opened it, some loose pages different from those of the book fell onto the floor. I picked them up and noticed that they were covered with text in a language I did not understand.

After much searching I found someone who could make sense of those words for me. I listened as he spoke the story out loud. What I heard was the most amazing tale I’ve ever heard–full of Indians beautiful to look at and also Indians who were treacherous, full also of hunting episodes, of capure and recapture. The tale ws about foundlings (who are only called that because once they were lost) and about animals, too, and kidnappers and prostitutes. In this story there is war and reconciliation, a marriage, and the death of a boy. Ultimately, what I heard was a story about the quest for beauty. It is sometimes surprising where you find it.

I was moved. What I heard was profound. And I decided to try and render that story into English and into a language, an idiom that, God willing, can be translated into other languages as easily as we shed one set of clothes only to don another. I have also tried to paint a portraot of the body underneath those clothes that is beautiful even in its smallest part and that will be beautiful no matter what language it wears. Because, above all, I have written this down as an offering, as an offering to the world, an offering of beauty and of _________.

From “The Translation of Dr. Apelles: A Love Story” by David Treuer


2 Responses to "Translator’s Introduction"

Oh, you know I’m so getting this book. Thanks for posting a glimpse.

Yay! I’m so pleased because it has officially become a favourite, a glorious favourite. I don’t know how I’ll be able to properly relay my adoration when I post about it. I feel like making flyers and handing it out to passers-by.

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