|About the Book|
the cover blurbIt makes me sad, that there is no life without spectacles, that there cannot be, one has to choose spectacles, between spectacles and spectacles, how one is to see, and sometimes it is forced upon one.He has left totalitarianMore the cover blurbIt makes me sad, that there is no life without spectacles, that there cannot be, one has to choose spectacles, between spectacles and spectacles, how one is to see, and sometimes it is forced upon one.He has left totalitarian Lutania for the West. His family remains behind, his wife is ill. Disorientated and alone he strives to adjust. He sees the Berlin Wall come down. Ceaucescu shot, the bemused absorption of the refugees and migrants. In Israel during the Intifada, he could stay but does not. The Gulf War finds him in France: in a village of the Cote dAzure he is almost shot in mistake for a caterpillar nest. His dreams are bad dreams: yet he has kept an ironic wit.Rosalind Belbens new novel is a resonant reflection on exile in a Europe of upheaval and tension. She is one of the most original writers in English today.Review from the IndependentIt is all a question of deceiving and teasing the eye, said the eye doctor, in order to obtain the truth: the title-piece, or eponymous chapter, of this sparkling short novel - or it is seven interlooped stories? - is a tour de force of terse, philosophic narrative. In related chapters, its hero dreams his life, or perhaps retails his life as it penetrates his dreams - life-dreams that verge on nightmare, all of division, exile, fragmentation, abandonment. One moving, intricate, hard-eyed part is woven from snippets of the letters, thoughts, sensations of a couple separated by a totalitarian regime which he has escaped, leaving her behind. He, split, is everywhere as the world splits (in France when the Gulf War breaks out, in Germany as the Wall comes down), always an outsider, perpetually bemused and longing.It is a small book that packs a strong punch, if your tastes run to powerful emotional writing that takes no romantic prisoners. Belbens lacquered, ice-pick prose has a Continental whiff to it, almost as if it actually were translated- her collision of high thought and earthy detail sounds un-English, her language dedicated to making strange in order to feel and record more freshly. She should be much more celebrated.