Front cover of The Translator’s Daughter: A Memoir, by Grace Loh Prasad, featuring Grace's chop or name stamp in Taiwanese repeated multiple times among a scattering of colored squares.

The Translator’s Daughter

A Memoir

Grace Loh Prasad

272 pp. 5.5 x 8.5

Pub Date: EXPECTED March, 2024

Subjects: Creative Nonfiction
Asian and Asian American Studies

Series: Machete

Imprint: Mad Creek

Preorder Paperback $24.95 $19.96 Save 20% and get free shipping   ISBN: 978-0-8142-5897-2

Read an excerpt from The Translator's Daughter on Longreads.

“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

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

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.

Grace Loh Prasad, seated in a royal blue blouse, with long dark hair and a slight smile
Author photo by J. D. Belran

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.

Contents

Author’s Note

Year of the Dragon, Part 1

Album

Gaining Face

Year of the Dragon, Part 2

The Pig Festival

Projections

Seasons of Scrabble and Mahjong

Going Home

Vortex

Another Incident

A Seed Doesn’t Choose Where It Falls

Allegories

Last Time in Bangkok

Unbridgeable

What David Bowie Taught Me about Art, Death, and Letting Go

Double Life

Mooncake

Feathers from Home and Other Family Heirlooms

Uncertain Ground

The Orca and the Spider: On Motherhood, Loss, and Community

A Book from the Sky

Unfinished Translation

One Day You’ll Need This

Acknowledgments

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

“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

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