In the Fertile Land

Gabriel Josipovici, Author Carcanet Press, $0 (212p) ISBN 978-0-85635-716-9
Comprising 18 short stories and a novella, this is a virtuoso work by an experimentalist writer (Contre-Jour) living in England, who also has credentials as a critic, dramatist and editor. Each plotless vignette is an attempt to find words to describe meaning and its lack, and to unite them. The futility of using words to recount events, let alone states of mind or being, is set forth in the opening story, ""Death of the Word.'' Here a son recalls playing ball with his father, but immediately denies that he had a father or played ball, recognizing that he has written the sentence only to annihilate his father, who has annihilated him. In ``Fuga,'' the situation is spewed forth in one long, seamless, unpunctuated, uncapitalized paragraph with shifting points of view. Only in the novel Distances is there a semblance of plot, as we follow a woman who walks ceaselessly and aimlessly through her town, talking to various people she encounters. The scenes repeat themselves surrealistically until finally all those with whom she has made contact gather in her apartment, waiting. This is a dense, exquisitely crafted exploration into the human condition by a writer who offers no answers but nonetheless illuminates the search. (February 5)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1987
Release date: 01/01/1987
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