Vain Art of the Fugue
Translated by Patrick Camiller
Clutching a bouquet of flowers, hurrying to catch his bus, and arguing with the driver once he's on, a man rushes to a train station platform to meet a woman. This sequence of events occurs and recurs in remarkably different variations in Vain Art of the Fugue.
In one version, the bus driver ignores the traffic signals and is killed in the ensuing crash. In another, the protagonist is thrown off the bus, and as he chases after it, a crowd of strangers joins him in the pursuit.
As the book unfolds, the protagonist, his lovers, and the people he meets become increasingly vivid and complex figures in the crowded Bucharest cityscape. Themes, conflicts, and characters interweave and overlap, creating a book that is at once chaotic and perfectly composed.
Nb of pages 144 p.
Publication Date 01 February 2007
Nb of pages 144
Dimensions 5 x 8 in.
List Price $12.95
As I stepped onto the bus I felt an urge to look back, as if someone had called out to me or tapped me on the shoulder or perhaps just looked at me, the way you look at a person who seems familiar and whose name you want to call out (what name?), or the way you stand at the window or the garden gate, gripping the green or black bars, and follow someone with your eyes as long as possible as he walks away, and — for no real reason, knowing he’ll turn around anyway — you feel a tightness in your chest as you will him to look back, focusing on the nape of his neck or a point between his shoulders, not thinking of anything so that people might say you were staring into space down a street that’ll soon be empty, where a dog sneaks along the side of the house, and a woman looks vacantly towards the man who’s turned the corner, hurriedly walking along with his head slightly bent, clutching a bunch of flowers rather awkwardly, slowing almost to a stop to look at a front yard, unsure of himself, then starting up again, crossing one street and another, approaching the stop where the bus is already about to leave, running the last few yards jumping onto the step, and glancing back: I couldn’t resist the temptation and therefore moved my head with a sense of shame because I couldn’t control myself, no one had called out to me, no one was behind me, and then the wheels of the bus began to turn, I climbed the next and final step, felt in my pocket for some change, and the flowers got squashed a little against the ticket-seller’s counter.
It's the sort of novel everyone who thinks he/she knows what novels should be like ought to read, and be utterly disabused of such certainty. -Reading Experience blog
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Genres : Fiction : Europe : Eastern Europe
Countries : Romania