ith a determined wrinkle in his brow and his tongue clamped in the corner of his mouth, Zach, the silly intern, was copying words from a computer tablet onto a dry erase board that had been wheeled into the offices of BradParksBooks.com
"Mein Onkel isst Deutsch Kartoffelsalat mit einem großen Schmatzen
," Zach wrote. Then he drew an equal sign and jotted, "My uncle eats German potato salad with a great smacking of lips."
He went back to the tablet, where Google Translate was up, jabbed at it for a while, then returned to the board.
"Je vais regarder des films ennuyeux avec des sous-titres si vous regarder des films où des choses explose
," Zach wrote. Next to that: "I will watching boring films with subtitles if you will watch movies where stuff blows up."
A series of clocks, each of them showing the time in great cities of the world, had been hung on a nearby wall. Zach was already back at the board for his latest offering.
"Ben size ayni yarimküerede bulunan makul eminim beri, bahar tadini çikariyor umuyoruz.
= I hope you are also enjoying springtime, since I am reasonably certain we are in the same hemisphere as you."
The other interns were, as usual, watching with some mixture of amusement and fascination. It was Sarah, the smart intern, who finally interrupted.
"Okay, Zach, what
are you doing?"
Zach pointed to the phrases one by one. "German... French... Turkish," he said. "With all the foreign deals that are flooding in, Brad's blockbuster breakout novel, SAY NOTHING
, is going to be published in all of those languages and more. He's up to eight so far: those three, plus Russian, Portuguese, Spanish, Hebrew, and Italian. Actually nine, if you count English—though I'm not sure you can, if you've ever seen some of Brad's rough drafts."
"Okay, I know all that," Sarah said. "But why are you doing... whatever this is."
"Because don't you see? We are no longer 'just' interns," Zach said. "We are now Brad's international ambassadors. We have to be ready, on a moment's notice, to converse easily and fluently with his new readers from around the world. Forget what the guidebooks say. These are the kind of phrases that will help us connect with Brad's expanding global audience."
"By talking about potato salad?"
"The love of potato salad crosses all cultures," Zach said. "I'm helping to build bridges of understanding here. Wait! That's a wonderful phrase! Hang on. Let me put that one up in Hebrew."
Painstakingly, he scrawled,
"And remember," he lectured, drawing an arrow from the end of the phrase to the beginning, "that's Hebrew, so you have to say it backward."
"No, Zach, you have to read
it backward," Sarah said. "You still say it forward."
"Good to know," Zach said, hastily erasing the arrow before returning to work.
In an unexpected twist, Zach is actually not exaggerating: Brad's much-anticipated new novel, SAY NOTHING
, is poised to become an international sensation. It is already scheduled to be published in nine languages, with more to come.
The cover above, courtesy of the eminently clever design team at Faber & Faber in London, will be the for U.K. edition. The interns look forward to seeing—and sharing—all the different covers that will be coming in from around the publishing world in the months to come.
Most importantly, to those of you in the United States and associated territories, SAY NOTHING
now has a domestic publication date: March 2017
. To give you just one nibble of what early readers are saying about Brad's first standalone effort, we'll quote the legendary Sue Grafton, who gave it this blurb:
"Terrific book. Truly terrific. Tension throughout and tears at the end. What could be better than that?"
Meanwhile, back at the white board, Zach had very carefully written,
"Okay," said Sarah, "and what is that?"
"It's Russian," Zach said. "But I might have to put it in all the other languages, because it's the most useful phrase of all."
Then he wrote the translation: "Please forgive Brad, he cannot control his interns."
Viva la Culture,
The BradParksBooks.com Interns