The Translator's Daughter: A Memoir (Machete) (Paperback)

The Translator's Daughter: A Memoir (Machete) By Grace Loh Prasad Cover Image
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A Taiwanese American writer unfurls themes of memory, dislocation, language, and loss to tell a unique story about reclaiming one’s heritage while living in a diaspora.

Born in Taiwan, Grace Loh Prasad was two years old when the threat of political persecution under Chiang Kai-shek’s dictatorship drove her family to the United States, setting her up to become an “accidental immigrant.” The family did not know when they would be able to go home again; this exile lasted long enough for Prasad to forget her native Taiwanese language and grow up American. Having multilingual parents—including a father who worked as a translator—meant she never had to develop the fluency to navigate Taiwan on visits. But when her parents moved back to Taiwan permanently when she was in college and her mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, she recognized the urgency of forging a stronger connection with her birthplace before it was too late. As she recounts her journey to reclaim her heritage in The Translator’s Daughter, Prasad unfurls themes of memory, dislocation, and loss in all their rich complexity. The result is a unique immigration story about the loneliness of living in a diaspora, the search for belonging, and the meaning of home.

About the Author

Grace Loh Prasad writes frequently on the topics of diaspora and belonging. Her writing has been published in the New York Times, Longreads, The Offing, Hyperallergic, Catapult, Ninth Letter, KHÔRA, and elsewhere. She is a member of The Writers Grotto and Seventeen Syllables, an Asian American Pacific Islander writers’ collective. She lives in the Bay Area.

Praise For…

The Translator’s Daughter is a poignant memoir about the joy, sadness, struggle, and complexities of being an immigrant.” —Eileen Gonzalez, Foreword Reviews

“I love how memoir engages with the art of looking back, of trying to understand who we were, where we truly come from, and how we got to where we are. In The Translator’s Daughter, Grace Loh Prasad looks back with such thoughtfulness, care, and wonder. This is a searching, heartfelt memoir about family, communication, loss, and the very idea of origin stories.” —Beth Nguyen, author of Owner of a Lonely Heart

The Translator’s Daughter moves from Taipei to San Francisco and back as if they were rooms of the same house, telling the story of a woman discovering her roots while simultaneously planting new ones as she creates a life on her own terms. Prasad’s sharp intelligence and fierce love for her family are on every page of this beautiful book.” —Grace Talusan, author of The Body Papers

“A compelling and poignant story that sheds light on Taiwanese culture and recent history. Essential for readers interested in Taiwan in specific or immigration memoirs in general.” —Joshua Wallace, Library Journal

“Grace Loh Prasad interrogates the distance between the homes we have and the homes we long for with the compassion and precision of one who has spent her entire life attuned to language. ‘We were always half a world apart,’ she writes; her essays bridge that gap in innovative ways, using family photos, mythical women, and Taiwanese films. Moving fluidly between the personal and the political, this memoir is a remarkable addition to Taiwanese American literature.” —Jami Nakamura Lin, author of The Night Parade

The Translator’s Daughter is a soulful and profound meditation on family, diaspora, and grief. How do we construct a life far away from our loved ones, and what do we lose? How do we preserve all that we have been given? Grace Loh Prasad tackles these questions with honesty and beauty, while also illuminating Taiwan’s culture, history, and hard-won path to democracy. I savored this book.” —Michelle Kuo, author of Reading with Patrick

The Translator's Daughter is a stunning tribute to the complexities of growing up as a third-culture kid, an honest and moving chronicle of the ‘abundance and loss’ of living across languages and continents.” —Shawna Yang Ryan, author of Green Island

“You can really feel the two decades Prasad put into this memoir. This is careful, considered prose and thought from a writer to both anticipate and learn from. A marvelous debut.” —Matthew Salesses, author of The Sense of Wonder

Product Details
ISBN: 9780814258972
ISBN-10: 0814258972
Publisher: Mad Creek Books
Publication Date: March 5th, 2024
Pages: 272
Language: English
Series: Machete