Mrs. Lowe-Porter

Pre-Order   Ships Feb 01, 2024

Product Details

$17.00  $15.81
Jackleg Press
Publish Date
6.0 X 9.0 X 0.64 inches | 0.93 pounds

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About the Author

Jo Salas is a New Zealand-born writer of fiction (DANCING WITH DIANA, Codhill Press) and nonfiction. Winner of the Pen & Brush prose contest and nominated for a Pushcart Prize, she is a co-founder, performer, and chronicler of Playback Theatre. She lives in upstate New York.


I was completely seduced by the story, the recounted life, and the personality of the main character. How does Helen retain control of the central challenge of being Mann's translator without losing herself in his overwhelming grandeur as a world-famous novelist? Jo Salas brilliantly captures the shifting depths underfoot. Despite the strictures of sticking to some semblance of biographical truth, however elastic, she maintains the pact between her subject and the freedom to stray and invent.

-Adam Thorpe, Ulverton

Helen Lowe-Porter, like talented women who came before and after her, faced dilemmas that men have rarely needed to consider. As the woman behind two larger-than-life men, Helen's desire for her own creative expression will resonate with readers. Jo Salas skillfully depicts Helen's milieu and her rich inner world in this wise, engaging, and touching novel.

-Nava Atlas, creator of

"I gave him my creative spirit, my conscientious, painstaking labor.... I was just the translator. I was not an inventor of worlds." The deep contradiction between "I gave him my creative spirit" and "I was just the translator" defines the driving dilemma of Helen Lowe-Porter, the first English translator of Thomas Mann. Jo Salas's engaging novel, bordering on nonfiction and based closely on the life of this admirable woman, is a must not only for women writers who translate but for all translators, writers and readers who feel a connection with "the shadow of the mountain."

-Suzanne Jill Levine, The Subversive Scribe: Translating Latin American Fiction

An exploration of the complicated life of the translator of Thomas Mann-who is a writer in her own right. Salas asks difficult questions about work and gender-whose words should take precedence? Whose work? Whose needs? Salas uses the real life of Helen Tracy Lowe-Porter as the foundation for this fascinating novel.

-Roxana Robinson, Dawson's Fall

Mrs. Lowe-Porter beguiled me in its nuanced and insightful depiction of the dilemma common to so many women: how to balance one's own ambition and need for self-expression with the demands of families within a culture that neither values care nor prizes women's work equally. The author not only deftly commands the details of an earlier time and place but imagines Helen Lowe-Porter's interior life and struggles with such sensitivity and verve that I found myself moved to a deeper understanding and profound appreciation of a woman I barely knew, my own grandmother.

-Anneke Campbell, writer and documentary filmmaker