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Story of Love in Solitude

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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.” 

From Publishers Weekly

Sep 19, 2016 – Comprising three stories of recurrence, death, and self-discovery, Lewinter’s collection is refreshing in its fundamental strangeness; his narrator’s road to realization dramatically eschews the linear and doubles back, many times, on itself. In “Story of Love in Solitude,” the narrator, living alone, welcomes the evening company of an unusually punctual spider, “the only animal, in practice, with whom it is possible to coexist within strictly defined, and respected, territories.” In “Passion,” the narrator grows attached to a camellia that he purchases for himself in 1986, 20 years after giving a similar flower to his parents for their anniversary. As he works on a translation of Rilke, the camellia grows “luxuriant... encircled with an armor of foliage that, under the low-angled rays of the afternoon sun, lit up... into which, often, in the evenings, with exultation, I would plunge my face.” Soon, however, the flower is attacked by insects, and the narrator must fight frantically for its survival. In “Nameless,” the narrator’s struggles with loneliness and desire—concurrent with the story of the camellia—are made explicit as he becomes enamored with a seller at the local market, with whom he fails to reach an understanding even as “the devourment of not knowing his name was exacerbated nearly to madness.” 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.
Story of Love in Solitude
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  • $9.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Short Stories
  • Published: Oct 25, 2016
  • Publisher: New Directions
  • Seller: W. W. Norton
  • Print Length: 64 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: To view this book, you must have an iOS device with iBooks 1.5 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

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