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Most jigsaws come with a neat picture on the cover, and the task of the solver is to patiently assemble the scattered pieces, so that everyone ends up with an identical image. Perhaps beginning with the corners and the frame, then slowly zooming in on one aspect of the picture – a landmark, or a bunch of flowers – and working out from there.
In this jigsaw, there’s a difference. You’re given a set of pieces, but the picture that emerges will be different for every reader. And that’s exactly how it should be.
Because here we’re not talking a neat do-it-by-numbers guide to how to make it as a freelance translator, but a series of anecdotes, insights, experiences and events, whose only connection is that they happened to one person.
“Here,” the book says. “Take these pieces, and make of them what you will. ”Because that’s inevitable anyway. A picture will certainly emerge, but no two readers will see it in quite the same way. Because what we see is determined by who we are.