The Translation of Dr. Apelles
In his third novel, Treuer offers a complex, multilayered narrative about a pair of mythical Native American orphans and the man who discovers their story. A scholar and linguist, Dr. Apelles is 42 years old and devoted to his intellectual pursuits, which include the translation of rare Native-American texts. When he comes upon a manuscript about two Native American children who were orphaned in the Midwest during the 19th century, he knows he has made a special discovery. The twinsa girl named Eta and a boy named Bimaadizare adopted by different families and grow up as friends. When they come of age, they fall in love, experiencing an idyllic romance, despite circumstances that threaten to separate them. One of Bimaadiz's friends wants Eta for himself, and she is captured by the members of a brothel. As Dr. Apelles translates the tale of the twins, he has a sort of epiphany: After a lifetime of bachelorhood, he finds he is desperately lonely and in need of love. He is drawn to a young woman named Campaspe, who works at the library where he does research, and his developing relationship with her parallels the story of the twins as the novel unfolds. Moving skillfully between the past and present, Treueran Ojibwe Indian from Minnesotaconstructs a wonderfully rich narrative about the power of stories and the importance of love.