Hotel Europa


A novel begun by a man in his bathtub begins, little by little, to overflow into his life.

Dalkey Archive Press

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A novel begun by a man in his bathtub begins, little by little, to overflow into his life.

Dalkey Archive Press

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Overstuffed with characters, history, and ideas, this oddly listless novel is a long, daunting ride not quite worth the price of admission. It's just after the fall of Nicolae Ceausescu, and the unnamed narrator--a Romanian novelist living in Paris with his French wife, Marianne, and their very intelligent cat--is writing a book that just might be this very book. Between stints of writing, the narrator travels and "meets" some of the book's characters, most prominently Ion, a Romanian university student with a penchant for pontificating on Romanian identity and who, after having been arrested during demonstrations against Ceausescu, is freed and travels through Europe. All the while, the narrator sometimes writes and sometimes avoids writing his book. At one point, Marianne says to the narrator, "Only the reader's curiosity can save the novelist" and while Tsepeneag (Pigeon Post) does much to whet the reader's curiosity, he doesn't do nearly enough to satisfy it. (Nov.)
Journal de Geneve
“With his metaphors and traps, Dumitru Tsepeneag reminds me of a magician who pulls flowers, animals, and strange objects out of his hat. He lays comical stories over a poignant, and often grim, background.”
Elizabeth Hand - The Village Voice
“[Tsepeneag] induces the sense that memory, time, and consciousness are both mutable and, ultimately, unknowable.”
Library Journal
Tsepeneag (Vain Art of the Fugue) here follows the mass exodus of Romanians after Ceausescu was overthrown. People wanted to go anywhere and would do anything not to live in Romania anymore. As a result, the novel is populated with characters, both opportunists and victims, involved in a variety of nefarious activities. Among the crowd is Ion, the everyman protagonist making his way toward Paris, who grows to feel contempt for the consumer society to which he was once drawn. Aside from this exodus, the novel is also about the author struggling with the writing process. Sentences and passages about his domestic life and decisions about his characters and the plot are interwoven with the narrative. Many of the characters assemble at the house in the country as he's finishing the novel, almost like a cast party. VERDICT Tsepeneag creates a fantastical world from the remnants of a society as it flows into modern Europe. Readers interested in the human story beyond the factual history of the dissolution of communism and those interested in the creative process will enjoy this novel.—K.H. Cumiskey, Duke Univ. Libs., Durham, NC
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781564785701
  • Publisher: Dalkey Archive Press
  • Publication date: 11/4/2010
  • Series: Romanian Literature Series
  • Pages: 450
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 7.90 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Dumitru Tsepeneag is one of the most innovative Romanian writers of the second half of the twentieth century. In 1975, while he was in France, his citizenship was revoked by Ceauşescu, and he was forced into exile. In the 1980s, he started to write in French. He returned to his native language after the Ceauşescu regime ended, but continues to write in his adopted language as well.

A translator from Romanian, Spanish, German, French, and Italian, Patrick Camiller has translated many works, including Dumitru Tsepeneag's Vain Art of the Fugue, The Necessary Marriage, and Hotel Europa.

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