Lost in Translation

Institute History


LOST IN TRANSLATION is a romantic thriller about a young Russian woman who comes to Los Angeles in search of her husband, a dissident actor who left Moscow five years earlier. In the course of unraveling the mystery surrounding her husband's disappearance, she becomes involved with an emigre black market ring which places her and her family in danger.

Lara, a beautiful young woman from the Russian countryside, was only 18 when she fell in love with Yuri. Lara married Yuri and became pregnant with his child—just as he received his long-awaited exit visa. Yuri was forced to leave the Soviet Union immediately, but the couple ;made a vow—to reunite in the United States as soon as Lara could get exit visas for herself, her son Sasha, her physician mother Zota, and her grandmother.

After five years of waiting, the visas finally arrive. Landing in Los Angeles expecting an emotional reunion with Yuri, Lara is instead met by Wendell, an earnest social worker whose kind intentions are matched only by his inexperience. As the days pass and Yuri does not appear, Lara becomes frantic about her husband's safety. Vladimir, a Russian emigre who purports to be Yuri's friend, seems unwilling to answer the simplest question about his whereabouts.

Lara's family surmises that Yuri merely abandoned her, but she cannot accept this explanation. She fears that Yuri is a victim of the KGB. Maybe he's hurt, even dead. Wendell's journalist brother, Max, is the only one who takes Lara seriously. Together, Max and Lara trace the return address on Yuri's love letters, revealing a maze of lies and deception which ultimately leads them to Vladimir's stolen goods ring.

As they move closer to solving the secret of Yuri's disappearance, Max finds himself falling in love with Lara. He also becomes aware that their search is placing her and her family in grave danger. Nevertheless, Lara is relentless in her search. With Max's sometimes reluctant help, she perseveres in her quest, finally discovering Yuri's terrible, sad secret.

LOST IN TRANSLATION is a tale of secrets and revelations. It is a dramatic story of search for family, homeland, and self. It is the odyssey of a modern immigrant who leaves a small, 19th century village in Russia to take on sprawling, 20th century America. From this story emerges an unusual young woman who, in her courageous loyalty to her husband and to her own values, becomes an inspiring heroine.


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