Dumitru Tsepeneag. Dalkey Archive Press, $13.95 (159pp) ISBN 978-1-56478-516-9
A Romanian novelist writing in French (here newly translated into English) creates in this fragmentary, meandering work the charmingly sad tale of a solitary writer, Ed, as he attempts to make sense of his memories. From his Parisian apartment, Ed observes the comings and goings of pigeons and neighbors, such as the widow Maryse and her Pekinese, all the while relishing his solitude and sifting through the ""raw material"" of his sensations and memories. He resolves to write a novel by introducing anecdotes helter-skelter and enlisting the ideas of his three childhood friends named, suspiciously, Edmund, Edgar and Edward. From the responses and criticism of these trusty alter-egos, Ed constructs a kind of journal of spontaneous writing centered on his upbringing in Agen and a present flirtation with an older man who plays chess in a café for a living. Delighting in his gleeful prevarication, the narrator opens himself to witty self-scrutiny and invites the reader to participate in his inventive, surreal literary feast.
Reviewed on: 12/01/2008