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Stunning fragments that offer an epiphany of grace and beauty
The Attraction of Things concerns the entirety of beauty and the possibility of grace, relayed via obsessions with rare early gramophone records, the theater, translation, dying parents: all these elements are relayed in a dizzying strange traffic of cultural artifacts, friendships, losses, discoveries, and love. Roger Lewinter believes that in the realm of art, “the distinction between life and death loses its relevance, the one taking place in the other.”
Whereas Story of Love in Solitude is a group of small stories, The Attraction of Things is a continuous narrative (more or less) of a man seeking (or stumbling upon) enlightenment.
“The Attraction of Things,” states Lewinter, “is the story of a being who lets himself go toward what attracts him, toward what he attracts—beings, works, things—and who, through successive encounters, finds the way out of the labyrinth, to the heart, where the bolt of illumination strikes. This is the story of a letting go toward the illumination.”
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.
With Lewinter, beginning a sentence is an entryway to a maze that guides you through a labyrinthine use of time that ends back at the beginning. He is at his most intricate in The Attraction of Things, a fictional treatise on the magnetism of things and how we are inexplicably drawn to them without knowing why.
— Monica Carter - Best Translated Book Award
The Attraction of Things and Story of Love in Solitude, two short books
by Roger Lewinter, are the first by the French author, editor, and
translator to appear in English. Majestically rendered by Rachel Careau,
their publication represents an opportunity to give Lewinter the
prominence he deserves...
— K. Thomas Kahn - BOMB Magazine
Short and very powerful.
— Scott Esposito - Conversational Reading
…us[es] language to alchemize the ordinary into something extraordinary.
— Brian Evenson - Electric Literature
Roger Lewinter’s works, both humanly touching and artistically innovative, are spectacularly individual. Obsessively, and in the most incisive detail, they portray some of the crucial events and ideas of his life in prose at once headlong and passionate in its pacing, and tight and cerebral in its articulation. In this volume, Lewinter’s highly intricate syntax, which necessarily so closely reflects and reproduces his complexly layered thinking, has been meticulously and eloquently recreated by Rachel Careau in her masterful translation.
— Lydia Davis
It takes some patience to walk with Lewinter through these passages, but if you do stay with him, you might arrive at that gem you have been looking for, or one that you weren’t even aware you needed.
— Poupeh Missaghi
You absolutely must read Roger Lewinter, beginning with two perfect narratives: The Attraction of Things and Story of Love in Solitude.
— David Lispiau - D-Fiction
— Patti Smith