A quietly affecting modern fairy tale told with humor and warmth, Translation is a Love Affair is a slender novel of immense humanity. A Quebecois novelist with a bad back and his vivacious young translator discover a stray cat with an SOS attached to its collar. They embark upon a search for its owner, and when they discover a young girl with bandaged wrists, they are drawn into a mystery they don’t dare neglect. The world Poulin creates is haunted by dark memories, isolation, and tragedy, yet it is a world in which language — and love — are the most immediate and vital forces, where one human being hearing a cry of distress of another is compelled to shed their own inhibitions to respond.
One of my favorite writers in the world is Jacques Poulin.
— Rawi Hage
One of the finest and most underrated novelists in Québec.
— The Globe & Mail
[Poulin] shares a mix of detached humour, fantasy, and compassion with Vonnegut and Salinger.
— Saskatoon Star-Phoenix
Jacques Poulin’s writing is always a fortuitous encounter. With each new book, the “little melody” created by Poulin refines the hypersensitivity of his literary project. This new novel that he offers, short and dense, once again shows that the pleasure of storytelling, entirely feline, is for him a poetics of writing itself.
— LÉMEAC: Communiqué
With all the talent of a goldsmith, Jacques Poulin weighs his words with finesse. Each word in this short book of 112 pages carries the weight determined by its author, that of the heart.
— Le poids des mots
Translation is a love story? Absolutely, just as that of readers with Jacques Poulin’s novels. This one will not disappoint them.
— Trouver le traducteur en nous
... these sentences that have been stripped, pumiced and polished until only the beauty of the grain remains, the fine drawing of time and patience.... 'Language is the house of being,' says Jack Waterman, alter ego of Jacques Poulin, quoting Heidegger. This house that Jacques Poulin fixes up and decorates, book by book, is a refuge where it is nice to come warm up.
— Entre les lignes
We fall under the spell of this heartwarming, human novel, penned by Jacques Poulin at the summit of his art.
— Mieux Vivre
If familiarity and surprise have become the trademark of Poulin’s novels, it is evident that Translation Is a Love Affair does not deviate from this model; and Poulin’s reader continues to read it as if he/she would pay a visit to relatives, as much to reoccupy a familiar world as to discover that which is new.
— Canadian Literature
Over and over, Poulin hits a note and holds it, singing it unchanging even as he adds new sounds to his novel's crescendo.
— The Collagist
This title neatly sums up the bond between a translator and the text, and the new relationships between the author and his readers that a translation creates.
— The Canada Council