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Biography & Autobiography Personal Memoirs

My Mother, My Translator

by (author) Jaspreet Singh

Publisher
Vehicule Press
Initial publish date
Sep 2021
Category
Personal Memoirs, Colonialism & Post-Colonialism, General
  • Paperback / softback

    ISBN
    9781550655797
    Publish Date
    Sep 2021
    List Price
    $22.95

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Description

In 2008, Jaspreet Singh made a pact with his mother. He would gladly give her the go-ahead to publish her significantly altered translation of a story from his collection, Seventeen Tomatoes, if she promised to write her memoirs. After she died in 2012, he decided to take up the memoir she had started. My Mother, My Translator is a deeply personal exploration of a complex relationship. It is a family history, a work of mourning, a meditation on storytelling and silences, and a reckoning with trauma--the inherited trauma of the 1947 Partition of India and the direct trauma of the November 1984 anti-Sikh violence Singh experienced as a teenager.

Tracing the men and especially the women of his family from the 1918 pandemic through the calamitous events of Partition, My Mother, My Translator takes us through Singh's childhood in Kashmir and with his grandparents in Indian Punjab to his arrival in Canada in 1990 to study the sciences, up to the closing moments of 2020, as he tries to locate new forms of stories for living in a present marked by COVID-19 and climate crisis.

About the author

Jaspreet Singh’s short pieces have appeared in Granta, Brick, Walrus, Zoetrope, Neue Zürcher Zeitung, and the New York Times. He is the author of the novels Helium, Chef, and Face; the story collection Seventeen Tomatoes; the poetry collections November and How to Hold a Pebble; and the memoir My Mother, My Translator. He is a recipient of several awards and has been translated into many languages. He lives in Calgary, the traditional territory and home to the diverse Indigenous peoples such as: Niitsitapi, Siksika, Kainai, Piikuni, Tsuut'ina, Métis, Îyâxe Nakoda. You can find him online at jaspreetsinghauthor.com

Jaspreet Singh's profile page

Editorial Reviews

A powerful and moving memoir, kinetic in its tracing of the various impacts of inherited trauma through several generations of Jaspreet Singh's family living through Partition and Sikh massacre in India to himself here in Canada. Through a series of digressions, both playful and deeply serious, My Mother, My Translator reshapes memoir in an unforgettable way. -Daphne Marlatt, author of Then Now

These pages form a complex elegy from son to mother that crosses cultures and languages, touching on family and immigration, war, grief and reconciliation. My Mother, My Translator defies genre and has a cumulative power that reveals literature as a home, a place to live. -Mark Anthony Jarman, author of Czech Techno and Knife Party at the Hotel Europa

The exact past will elude us forever, writes Jaspreet Singh, yet we are compelled to explore it. As a young man he finds that the stories we can never tell construct us and our families more surely than those we do tell. Yet along with the excoriating power of the unsaid, he discovers the healing power of translation, and of mountains. My Mother, My Translator is an unflinching work. -Ted Bishop, author of Riding with Rilke: Reflections on Motorcycles and Books, and The Social Life of Ink

Singh is an unparalleled chronicler. ... My Mother, My Translator is an indispensable, inimitable memoir. -Shazia Hafiz Ramji, Quill & Quire

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