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Pratt Page-Turners Book Club

Join us for a discussion of Babel by R.F. Kuang. This program has a hybrid format. Participate either in person or on Zoom.

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

"1828. Robin Swift, orphaned by cholera in Canton, is brought to London by the mysterious Professor Lovell. There, he trains for years in Latin, Ancient Greek, and Chinese, all in preparation for the day he’ll enroll in Oxford University’s prestigious Royal Institute of Translation — also known as Babel.

"Babel is the world's center for translation and, more importantly, magic. Silver working — the art of manifesting the meaning lost in translation using enchanted silver bars — has made the British unparalleled in power, as its knowledge serves the Empire’s quest for colonization.

"For Robin, Oxford is a utopia dedicated to the pursuit of knowledge. But knowledge obeys power, and as a Chinese boy raised in Britain, Robin realizes serving Babel means betraying his motherland. As his studies progress, Robin finds himself caught between Babel and the shadowy Hermes Society, an organization dedicated to stopping imperial expansion. When Britain pursues an unjust war with China over silver and opium, Robin must decide...

"Can powerful institutions be changed from within, or does revolution always require violence?"

— publisher description

Reserve the print book.
Reserve the eBook on Hoopla.
Reserve the eBook on OverDrive.
Reserve the eAudiobook on OverDrive.

Free parking vouchers will be available to program attendees who park at the Franklin Street Garage (15 W. Franklin Street) while supplies last. Ask Pratt event staff for your parking voucher prior to or after the program. 

For more information about the Pratt Page-Turners, email

Saturday, August 19, 2023 at 11:00am to 12:30pm

Central Library, Poe Reading Room
400 Cathedral Street, Baltimore, MD 21201

Event Type

Book Discussions, Summer Break Baltimore, Virtual Event

Age Group

Adults, Seniors

Compass Category

Book Discussion

Event Publisher

Emily Levine, Manager of Adult Services

Digital Signage


Registration Required


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