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The Transcriptionist

The Transcriptionist Cover

The Transcriptionist

By Amy Rowland

Algonquin Books, Paperback, 9781616204501, 272pp.

Publication Date: January 20, 2015

-Haunting and provocative . . . Rowland's writing is compelling and masterful.- --Delia Ephron, author of The Lion Is In

Once, there were many transcriptionists at the Record, a behemoth New York City newspaper, but new technology has put most of them out of work. So now Lena, the last transcriptionist, sits alone in a room--a human conduit, silently turning reporters' recorded stories into print--until the day she encounters a story so shocking that it shatters the reverie that has become her life.

This exquisite novel, written by an author who spent more than a decade as a transcriptionist at the New York Times, asks probing questions about journalism and ethics, about the decline of the newspaper and the failure of language. It is also the story of a woman's effort to establish her place in an increasingly alien and alienating world.

-The Transcriptionist is suffused with prescient insight into journalism, ethics, and alienation . . . A thought provoking, original work.- --New York Journal of Books

-Rowland seems that rare thing, the naturally gifted novelist . . . She] deftly maps a very specific kind of urban loneliness, the inner ache of the intelligent, damaged soul who prefers the company of ideas and words to that of people . . . That urge--to make words holy--is at the heart of this novel's strange, sad beauty.- --The Washington Post

-The Transcriptionist holds many pleasures . . . and] can be read through many lenses . . . Rowland plays with the notions of truth and reliability . . . Sharp and affecting.- --The New York Times Book Review

-A strange, mesmerizing novel . . . about the decline of newspapers and the subsequent loss of humanity--and yes, these are related.- --Booklist, starred review

-Ambitious and fascinating . . . Disturbing and powerful.- --Library Journal

-Entering the city Rowland creates, with its tightly strung dialogue and soulful, lonely citizens, is a memorable experience.- --The Boston Globe

-Unforgettable. Written with such delight, compassion, and humanity it's newsworthy.---Alex Gilvarry, author of From the Memoirs of a Non-Enemy Combatant