The Succubus

Vlado Zabot, trans. from the Slovenian by Rawley Grau and Nikolai Jeffs, Dalkey Archive, $13.95 trade paper (208p) ISBN 978-1-56478-595-4
The uneven English debut of acclaimed Slovenian novelist Zabot starts off strong before slipping into a muddle of paranoia and the hallucinations of Valent Kosmina, a retiree in an unnamed eastern European city. His wife hooked on television and tranquilizers, Valent passes the time by strolling through a distant neighborhood and posing as a gentleman of leisure. But when someone is murdered, Valent fears he will be a suspect since he has no real business there, and the novel begins its hopscotch descent into madness: Valent receives a mysterious letter, hears scratching sounds from the apartment next door, and is followed by a black-haired girl who becomes the object of his fantasies even as he's not certain whether she's real or imagined. While the novel's treatment of longing, lust, and madness have faint echoes of some canonical heavyweights—Dostoyevski, Nabokov—Zabot's prose is a love it or hate it proposition, and the increasingly erratic action devolves into little more than the crazy thoughts and actions of a crazy person. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 11/08/2010
Release date: 09/01/2010
Genre: Fiction
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