Book review: Babel

The Travelling Bookbinder: Book review: Babel, by R. F. Kuang, published by Harper Voyager

A handsome volume, deft narrative and confident compulsive pacing, made a book review of Babel the only choice for December’s Book of The Month. Indeed, this reader ignored meal times, tax return and sleep until it was finished – and the characters continue to inhabit the library of my mind.

Babel is about the power of words and the challenges of translation, in the context of empire.

In the biblical story of the Tower of Babel, God disrupted the Babylonians attempts to construct a tower into the heavens, by confusing the language of the builders, so that they couldn’t communicate. Now ‘babel’ has come to mean a confusion of sounds or voices.

Kuang presents us with a convincing magical realism, illuminating the parallel histories of colonialism, in an absorbing and assured novel with many linguistic treats.

Babel: An Arcane History of the Oxford Translators’ Revolution, by R.F. Kuang, is published by Harper Voyager.

The perfect book for Jolabokaflod – the Icelandic tradition of book giving and reading on Christmas Eve, preferably with chocolate.

Receive a 10% discount by ordering your copy of Babel from Golden Hare Books, using the code bookbinderreview20

Natasha Pulley gives a great overview in The Guardian.

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