Fat Skeletons

Ursule Molinaro, Author
Ursule Molinaro, Author Serif Publishing $11.99 (143p) ISBN 978-1-897959-02-2
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Novelist/translator Molinaro's (The New Moon with the Old Moon in Her Arms) latest novel is a suspense fantasy of romance, betrayal and plagiarism, set both in contemporary Greenwich Village and a bygone Prague. Her vivid, disaffected protagonist-a 42-year-old Czech-born translator-wastes no time in flaunting ample evidence of her translating abilities, her command of New York grit or her European sophistication. Yet Mara's authorly gifts remain stifled, smothered by an oppressive childhood and haunted by a first love destroyed by crass deception. Her projected novella chronicling past lovers (mostly disappointing) remains blocked, until the slothful and penniless writer Mandy Murdoch comes begging a last-minute translation. Here, the cascade of Calvino-esque signs begins, as Molinaro delightedly layers dark remnants torn from Mara's past with an almost slapstick present. It is obviously a great deal of witty fun-if the reader identifies with Mara's searing brilliance, a brilliance that eclipses all the other terribly mundane folks. Less obvious, however, is the absurdist, sly, cynical Eastern European humor. And while the self-consciously hipsterized, fairy-tale ending might suit Hollywood, it seems incongruent here. (Nov.)
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