Stochastic Bookmark

abstruse unfinished commentary

about correspondence


Just this side of Byzantium

Mircea Cărtărescu, Nostalgia (trans Julian Semilian): A novel, five stories tall, located in Bucharest, when it has a location, which shifts, is hard to place. The author, via the translator's afterword:
"Even though this volume is comprised of five separate stories, each with its own world, it could be said that what we're dealing with here is a Book, in the old and precious sense of the word. The stories connect subterraneously, caught in the web of the same magical and symbolist thought, of the same stylistic calligraphy. This is a fractalic and holographic novel, in which each part reflects all the others. The first and the last story, linear texts of a parabolic simplicity, are merely the frame for the other ones that make up the book's marrow and contain the three principal themes ..."
But that would be telling, which it is all in. Bildungsromanish, a coming-of- -- not age, something timeless about it, also as much in dissolution as in formation, as is all the stuff dreams, and worlds, are made of. And the frame blends into the picture, trompe-l'œil narrative effects and tricks of perspective intrude, informed and yet naïve, all nonetheless integral to the story. Another instance of a writer too long detained for us anglots. (As I told another, if you have not yet read it, you must; if you already have, you must forget it entirely.)


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