“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