Translating Hannah

Translating Hannah

Ronaldo Wrobel

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.



Translating Hannah - In the press

Ronaldo Wrobel author of Translating Hannah in an interview with Makor Rishon.

Eldad Beck interviews Ronaldo Wrobel, author of Translating Hannah, in Ynet.

Read the first chapter of Translating Hannah in Walla! Culture

Translating Hannah - Reviews

“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...

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Yonatan Grossman, Walla!

Eldad Beck interviews Ronaldo Wrobel, author of the captivating novel “Translating Hannah”.

For the full review

Eldad Beck, Ynet

“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”.

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Judische Allgemeine

“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 ...


“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 ...

Veja Magazine

“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...

Peregrina Cultural

“I definitely and warmly recommend reading Translating Hannah!”

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carmitoshik, saloona

“Ronaldo Wrobel restores the Jewish whores’ lost honour… An interesting and captivating novel.”

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Ruth Almog, Haaretz

“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...

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Amihai Shalev, Ynet

“A rare glimpse into Jewish life at the other end of the world during the worst years of the 20th century… A delight.”

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Ran Bin-Noon, Yedioth Aharonot