Seriously. Todd Hasak-Lowy.
Every short story in this collection is graduate school hilarious. This guy speaks the language, knows the culture, and is an astute social commentator in an-understated-while-laughing-at-himself way. I have laughed out loud several times. In this title story, The Task of This Translator” (a play on Walter Benjamin), Ted hires “our hero”, Ben (151), to work for the translation business he establishes after a course on “‘Transnationalism and Borders’ or something like that” (150), because “Ted concluded that … the future was about transnationalism, or something to that effect – and that a business, one day a giant corporation, was waiting to sprout from this trans moment in world history” (150-151).
Some of his phrases are sheer elegance:
“…the sheer beauty of the language, wanting to learn it in order to better understand the unrest that speaks this language…” (152)
In this phrase is all of postmodernism, eh?