Romanian Notebook

Cyrus Console. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $13 trade paper (176p) ISBN 978-0-86547-830-5
Console fills his notebook—which he keeps over the month that he and his wife are visiting her family in Romania—with disconnected musings on the human condition, chess, art, and smoking pot (his constant refrain is “maybe I quit smoking pot for nothing”). He opens the notebook with reflections on the jarring news that the fetus that his wife Paula is carrying has an elevated risk of Down ’s syndrome. Writing in the notebook gives Console some sense of identity and keeps him occupied during his days in Romania, where he otherwise seems quite bored. The notebook gives the appearance that he’s working, and for the first time he feels like a real writer. Late in his travels, he resolves to be “easygoing and pleasant,” but by then his apathetic tone has already so deeply colored his life and writing that readers won’t believe him. Even as he admits that his “self-pity and frustration” are too much for him, they become monotonous for the reader. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 01/30/2017
Release date: 03/21/2017
Ebook - 978-0-374-71319-5
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