The Man Between: Michael Henry Heim & a Life in Translation
by Michael Henry Heim
Open Letter Press, October 2014
When Michael Henry Heim—one of the most respected translators of his generation—passed away in the fall of 2012, he left behind an astounding legacy. Over his career, he translated over sixty works from more than eight languages, books by Milan Kundera, Dubravka Ugresic, Hugo Claus, and Anton Chekov.
But Heim was much more than that. His UCLA classes on translation inspired a new generation, and his work to heighten understanding of translation within and outside of the academy will impact perceptions for decades to come.
If that weren’t enough, upon his death it was revealed that Heim was the anonymous donor responsible for the PEN Translation Fund—the largest fund in America supporting up-and-coming translators.
Hundreds of people in the literary community were directly affected by Heim’s life and actions, and this book is a tribute to this quiet, humble man. Comprising a short autobiography (translated from the Romanian), pieces from authors he worked with, and essays detailing his impact on our literary culture, The Man Between opens a window onto the life and teachings of Michael Henry Heim. Like David Bellos’ Is That a Fish in Your Ear? it will be of great interest to anyone who cares about language, international culture, and the art of translation.