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Babel

AuthorR.F. Kuang

NarratorBillie Fulford-Brown, Chris Lew Kum Hoi

Duration21h 45m

CategoriesAdult Fiction, Historical Novels

PublisherHarper Collins

VersionUnabridged

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Traduttore, traditore: An act of translation is always an act of betrayal.

Oxford, 1836.

The city of dreaming spires.

It is the centre of all knowledge and progress in the world.

And at its centre is Babel, the Royal Institute of Translation. The tower from which all the power of the Empire flows.

Orphaned in Canton and brought to England by a mysterious guardian, Babel seemed like paradise to Robin Swift.

Until it became a prison…

But can a student stand against an empire?

An incendiary new novel from award-winning author R.F. Kuang about the power of language, the violence of colonialism, and the sacrifices of resistance.

5 (1 Review)
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Jacqui 23 Nov 2023

Brilliant

Babel by R F Kuang - well I finished it, all 22 hours at normal speed, did I enjoy it Yes, did I understand it all No, would I recommend it Definitely...I have so many questions about this book I don’t know where to begin with them, I am hoping to find someone in my book club who has read it to discuss it with. It was the mixture of fact/historical events and fantasy that just kept throwing me, I think that was because I wasn’t expecting it.
There is so much to unpack in this story around colonialism and the stripping of countries of their natural resources for the benefit of a richer country. We can’t change history, but we can acknowledge what happened and maybe learn from it, or is it a human condition to take advantage of those who are weaker than you? I don’t know it is something to discuss with others who have read the book
I think it is one I will buy so I can listen to it again and not feel bad I am keeping people waiting for it, although I still have over a week to go before the return date I don’t feel that is long enough for it to all sink in.
I had been aware of this book for some time and it hadn’t appealed to me, definitely enjoyed it more than I expected to and look forward to listening to it again and maybe getting a better understanding of it.

Regarding the audiobook which wasn’t obvious the second narrator is the foot notes that appear at the end of pages/chapters in the physical book, I will be honest this throw me to start with. It was only after finishing and finding someone who had read the physical book that could confirm what I expected.

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