cover image You Do Understand

You Do Understand

Andrej Blatnik, trans. from the Slovenian by Tamara M. Soban, Dalkey Archive, $12.95 paper (112p) ISBN 978-1-56478-599-2

Fifty brief, knotty thrusts at life's conundrums make up this hip collection. Themes of failure—particularly in love—dominate, as in the compendium of excuses the narrator of "And Since I Couldn't Sleep" makes the morning after she's left the apartment of a man she's finally slept with. In "An Almost Perfect Evening," the buttoned-down narrator wishes his equally well-brought-up date would reveal a drastic fault. A humorous mixup occurs in "Words Matter," when a lonely man in a hotel room calls the number on a card offered by the desk clerk, though he has misunderstood the card's purpose ("So, you're not..." "No, I'm not"). And what to make of a world in which a person can go to bed a bank mogul and wake up a rickshaw driver? Each of these short bursts (most are barely a page long) bubbles with a droll, dry humor handily captured by Soban's dead-on, deadpan translation. (Sept.)