A notable discovery of a truly original voice
Several stories inhabit Roger Lewinter’s first small book to appear in English, Story of Love in Solitude. Each story takes the form of a loop: a spider who won’t stop returning; camellias that flourish and then die; dying parents whose presence is always yet felt; turning again and again to work on Rilke translations; a younger man whom the narrator sees each week at the Geneva street markets. All the tales touch on the possibility, the open possibility of love―a loop without end.
Lewinter’s short fictional works are at once prose poems and a form of dreaming; they are akin to the great French tradition of things sparking emotions and emotions sparking things―part Sarraute, part Robbe-Grillet, part Perec. Plot is not really the point of his meditative works. Lewinter concerns himself more with perception, apperception, and sudden inflections of grace: loss and beauty meet in an explosion of joy, which becomes, “in its brilliance, a means of transmittal.”
“Lewinter perfectly captures the strangeness of infatuation and the way in which it becomes all too easy to project one’s own narrative onto the bodies of those around us.” (Thea Hawlin – Asymptote Journal)
“Lewinter’s uncanny gift for dissecting the abstract and unspoken aspects of attraction and self-awareness raises fiction to a higher level.” (Monica Carter – Best Translated Book Award)
“Lewinter’s prose―lengthy sentences, punctuated largely by commas, semicolons, and dashes―has hypnotic appeal when combined with his tendency toward meandering asides and lovely melancholy.” (Publisher’s Weekly)
“The work of Roger Lewinter is essentially a work of reflection on meaning, on units of meaning and the logical problems posed by their ordering in the sentence: each word, each sense, leading to a calling into question of the text as a whole. This sentence, which can be compared to a Kashmir shawl in its infinite interlacing, woven in one piece and from a single thread, raises, beyond the simple syntactic difficulties, logical problems of thought that no writing had up to now approached.” (Lorenzo Valentin)
About the Author
Roger Lewinter was born in Montauban, France, in 1941, to Austrian Jewish parents. The family moved to Switzerland during the war, and he has lived much of his life in Geneva. For more than forty years he has worked as a writer (of both literary and scholarly works), an editor, and a translator (of Georg Groddeck, Karl Kraus, Elias Canetti, Robert Walser, and Rilke, among others). Among his dozen books are three works of fiction.
Rachel Careau is a writer and translator and the author of one book of prose poems, Itineraries. She is working on a translation of Roger Lewinter’s L’Apparat de l’âme.