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Readers’ comments on Between Worlds

“Karttunen has identified a fascinating topic in the lives and roles of interpreters, guides, and informants to missionaries, explorers, soldiers: world-bridging mediators, the ultimate aliens…These figures form a memorable group, the admonishing statues in abandoned temples. Would make a great PBS documentary.” Kirkus Reviews

“Fascinating, completely original, and innovative.” Deborah Tannen, author of You Just Don’t Understand

This is a fascinating book. It explores the lives of translators who became indispensable go-betweens when utter strangers met, and does so with remarkable insight and detachment.” William H. McNeill, author of The Rise of the West

“This is a very original and important book that is also compellingly readable…a significant contribution to the study of the dynamics of encounters between cultures…terrific stories.” Jane Hill, University of Arizona

“An outstanding first-hand contribution on intercultural communication, above all on interpretation, translating, and understanding or misunderstanding…in actual encounters which occurred in the Americas and elsewhere.” Miguel León-Portilla, author of The Broken Spears

"What a stunning accomplishment it is. I read the Paraske part first, because the book fell open there, and found it moving and exquisitely written. And more, such gorgeous story-telling and imaginative but responsible recreation of other times and places." Roger Lass, Professor, University of Cape Town, South Africa

"I have learned a lot from Between Worlds about many people I knew little or nothing about before, and the analyses are tremendously thought-provoking." Leanne Hinton, University of California, Berkeley

"Congratulations on Between Worlds. You're a great story teller…original and even more interesting as they are real people. Our Thursday morning English class was fascinated by the theme. If the International Women's Club plans go through for an English Library, I'll certainly promote your book." Patricia Reese de Valencia, Mérida, Yucatan

"The magnanimous use of words both stuns and fascinates. It never fatigues…the words and episodes simply float from one to the next and pull the reader along as if one were sitting in the front row of the dress circle watching scenes evolve on stage." Leena Lindqvist, linguist and English teacher, Finland

"Paraske's story had a haunting poignancy for me that surpassed those of Dońa Marina, Gaspar Antonio, and Guaman Poma. The losses suffered by an entire people--the Aztec, Maya, and Inca--overwhelm that of any particular person. But we can best understand the destruction of an entire culture by looking at individual lives." Rosemary Stubbs, public school teacher, Los Angeles

"The penetrating chapter on Dońa Luz reads as compellingly as a suspense novel." Emily Socolov, folklorist

"My name is Jesús, one of Luz's grandsons. My mother is very happy with the book you sent her." Jesús Villaneuva Hernández, Mexico City

"Thank you for the new world you opened for me." Sylvia Hernández, actress and playwright, Houston

“I wrote a thesis about David Malo who I thought was also a mediator of the in-betweens. I wish I had your book when I was still writing. Mahalo for the inspiration.” Noelani Arista, Oahu