The Transcriptionist

The Transcriptionist

A Novel

eBook - 2014
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"A haunting and provocative novel about the mysteries of life and a death, the written word, things seen and unseen, heard and forgotten. Amy Rowland's writing is compelling and masterful." -Delia Ephron, author of The Lion Is InOnce, there were many transcriptionists at the Record, a behemoth New York City newspaper, but new technology and the ease of communication has put most of them out of work. So now Lena, the last transcriptionist, sits alone in a room--a human conduit, silently turning reporters' recorded stories into print--until the day she encounters a story so shocking that it shatters the reverie that has become her life. This exquisite novel, written by a woman who spent more than a decade as a transcriptionist at the New York Times, asks probing questions about journalism and ethics, about the decline of the newspaper and the failure of language. It is also the story of a woman's effort to establish her place in an increasingly alien and alienating world."A strange, mesmerizing novel about language, isolation, ethics, technology, and the lack of trust between institutions and the people they purportedly serve ... A fine debut novel about the decline of newspapers and the subsequent loss of humanity--and yes, these are related." -Booklist, starred review"Ambitious and fascinating ... Disturbing and powerful ... Recommended for fans of literary fiction." -Library Journal"Rowland's farcical approach ... is balanced by the novel's realistic insights into journalistic integrity, the evolution of contemporary newspaper publishing, and, more broadly, the importance of genuine communication." -Publishers Weekly"Unforgettable. Written with such delight, compassion, and humanity, it's newsworthy." -Alex Gilvarry, author of From the Memoirs of a Non-Enemy Combatant ."-- Provided by publisher.
Publisher: Chapel Hill, North Carolina :, Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill,, 2014
ISBN: 9781616203962
Characteristics: 1 online resource (256 pages)
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Dec 30, 2016

Painful to read.

diesellibrarian Sep 02, 2014

This starts out as a promising story about the last remaining transcriptionist at a fictional daily newspaper in New York. Lena, the protagonist, accepts the clerical job as an antidote to the overwhelming pressure of grad school. She spends her days transcribing stories and interviews phoned in by reporters in the field. Things start to unravel for Lena when she becomes obsessed with a the story of a blind woman who feeds herself to the lions at the metro zoo. From here, the story devolves, becoming very self-conscious and overly didactic. Towards the end, it reads like an MFA thesis in Creative Writing. The tropes are heavy-handed, and the crux of the narrative feels contrived. Overall, the writing is good, but this book is not the "masterpiece" I was expecting.


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