Good on Paper: Book summary and reviews of Good on Paper by Rachel Cantor

Good on Paper

by Rachel Cantor

Good on Paper by Rachel Cantor X
Good on Paper by Rachel Cantor
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  • Published in USA  Jan 2016
    320 pages
    Genre: Novels

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Book Summary

The highly anticipated second novel from a writer Emily St. John Mandel calls "sharp, witty, and immensely entertaining."

Is a new life possible? Because Shira Greene's life hasn't quite turned out at planned. Shira is a permanent temp with a few short stories published in minor literary magazines and a PhD on Dante's Vita Nuova that she abandoned halfway.

Her life has some happy certainties, though: she lives with her friend Ahmad, and her daughter, Andi, on the Upper West Side. They're an unconventional family, but a real one, with Friday night dinner rituals, private jokes, and the shared joys and strains of any other family.

So when she gets the call from Romei, the winner of last year's Nobel Prize and the irascible idol of grad students everywhere, and he tells her he wants her to translate his new book, Shira is happy ... but stunned. Suddenly, Shira sees a new beckoning: academic glory, a career as a literary translator, and even love (with a part-time rabbi and owner of the neighborhood indie bookstore). That is, until Romei starts sending her pages of the manuscript and she realizes that something odd is going on: his book may in fact be untranslatable.

A deft, funny, and big-hearted novel about second chances, Good on Paper is a grand novel of family, friendship, and possibility.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Starred Review. Cantor clearly loves her characters, and she shows true mastery of their inner lives...You'll want to reread the final chapters more than once, delighted anew each time by how well Cantor speaks our language. In this feat of a novel, knowledge is a tiny first step on the way to understanding." - Kirkus

"Starred Review. Translation is a metaphor through which Cantor uses her considerable powers with language to refract larger questions about family bonds, storytelling, and letting go of fantasies of new life and waking up to the life that is yours." - Publishers Weekly

"In Cantor's second novel (after A Highly Unlikely Scenario ) nothing is straightforward - neither the work Shira is translating, nor her private affairs, nor her family history. Yet as the tragedies and comedies of her experiences begin to blend in with Romei's book, the possibility of a vita nuova (new life) for herself and her daughter as well as friend Ahmed and new love Benny seems real." - Library Journal

"While Cantor's (A Highly Unlikely Scenario; or, A Neetsa Pizza Employee's Guide to Saving the World, 2014) frequent Dante references can be befuddling at times, the mystery and meaning of Romei's unconventional tale keep the reader turning pages." - Booklist

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Author Information

Rachel Cantor

Rachel Cantor was raised in Rome and Connecticut. She is the author of the acclaimed novel A Highly Unlikely Scenario, and her short stories have appeared in The Paris Review, One Story, Ninth Letter, and The Kenyon Review, among other publications. She has received fellowships from Yaddo, the MacDowell Colony, the Millay Colony, the Djerassi Resident Artists Program, and elsewhere, and has been a scholar at the Bread Loaf, Sewanee, and Wesleyan writing conferences. She lives in Brooklyn.

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