In 1936, Max Kutner is a Polish Jew who works as a shoe repair man in Rio de Janeiro. Fluent in Yiddish, Max is called upon by the Political Police to act as a postal censor, translating the correspondence of other Jews into Portuguese, as the dictatorial Brazilian government suspects a communist conspiracy with "semitic influence". If he refuses the task, he might be expelled from the country back to a European continent where Nazi rule cannot be stopped; if he accepts and is discovered by his community, lonely Max will be forever ostracized. Perturbed by terrible dilemmas, he falls in love with a woman he has never met, Hannah, who exchanges letters with her faraway sister in Buenos Aires, Fanny. Decided to find Hannah and propose marriage, Max Kutner discovers a real personality which is very far from the one he fell in love with through her letters. His potential for love and tenderness leads Max to an unexpected succession of events. A beautiful literary novel about identity, Translating Hannah examines the folklore of Jews in the tropics and recovers an important part of the history of the community in the New World.
"A rare glimpse into Jewish life at the other end of the world during the worst years of the 20th century… A delight."
Ran Bin-Noon, Yedioth Aharonot
"If there is a book that can be taken as is, to learn from it how to write a "proper" novel, how to construct a tight and accurate plot which has twists and turns, with characters which are "whole" as we were taught in high-school, how to intersperse information correctly, how to create pauses and mainly how to capture the reader's attention - its Translating Hannah."
Amihai Shalev, Ynet
"Ronaldo Wrobel restores the Jewish whores' lost honour... An interesting and captivating novel."
Ruth Almog, Haaretz
"I definitely and warmly recommend reading Translating Hannah!"
"Wrobel’s novel opens doors to new directions in contemporary Brazilian literature. What makes this book deserve such enthusiasm? Theme, style, narrative, lightness, humor, irony and research. Best Book of the Year."
"We might ask ourselves, before this great romance of Ronaldo Wrobel, which lack that arises in Brazil a group of Jewish writers heavyweights, as in the United States were and have been Saul Bellow, Philip Roth, Bernard Malamud, Isaac Bashevis Singer and many others, not to mention that synthesis of Jewish humor that is Woody Allen."
"The historical context is accurate, the characters are solid, the delightful stories of Jewish folklore are at the service of verisimilitude. The speech is objective, provided that apparent simplicity that requires years of learning; driving the plot is safe with cuts, flashbacks and all that holds the attention of the reader from beginning to end. I have no doubt in considering Translating Hannah one of the best titles of the year."
"Translating Hannah is a smart and charming book, a love story unusual and an introduction to Brazil and little-known story of the Jews in this country".
Eldad Beck interviews Ronaldo Wrobel, author of the captivating novel "Translating Hannah".
Eldad Beck, Ynet
Shira Keidar-Ovadia interviews Ronaldo Wrobel for the weekend edition of Makor Rishon.
Shira Keidar-Ovadia, Makor Rishon
"Wrobel undoubtedly has a considerable talent, in spite of the faults in the plot he succeeds in portraying accurately and with considerable humor the fascinating Jewish (and non-Jewish) life in Brazil during the "New State" era, the story of the mass Jewish immigration to Brazil, and the plight of the Polacas in Latin America."
Yonatan Grossman, Walla!