Columbus: Rachel Cantor for "Good on Paper"

Event date: 
01/28/2016 - 7:00pm

Join us on Thursday, January 28th at 7pm for a reading from Good on Paper by Rachel CantorJoining her for a discussion on the book and translation is Susan Bernofsky

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 life 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.

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.

Susan Bernofsky is the director of Literary Translation at Columbia in the Columbia University School of the Arts MFA Writing Program. She has translated some two dozen books, including eight by the great Swiss-German modernist author Robert Walser, Kafka's The Metamorphosis, Hesse's Siddhartha, and The End of Days by Jenny Erpenbeck. Her many prizes and awards include the 2015 Independent Foreign Fiction Prize, the 2015 Oxford Weidenfeld Translation Prize, a Guggenheim Fellowship, the Helen and Kurt Wolff Translation Prize and the Hermann Hesse Translation Prize. She blogs about translation at

Event address: 
450 Columbus Ave
New York, NY 10024