Writers

Overview

Here we have the anatomy of the contemporary writer, as imagined by the pseudonymous, "post-exotic" Antoine Volodine. His writers aren't the familiar, bitter, alcoholic kind, however; nor are they great, romantic, tortured geniuses; and least of all are they media darlings and socialites. No, in Volodine's universe, the writer is pitted in a pathetic struggle against silence and sickness--that is, when she's not about to be murdered by random lunatics or fellow inmates. Consisting of seven loosely interlocking ...

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Overview

Here we have the anatomy of the contemporary writer, as imagined by the pseudonymous, "post-exotic" Antoine Volodine. His writers aren't the familiar, bitter, alcoholic kind, however; nor are they great, romantic, tortured geniuses; and least of all are they media darlings and socialites. No, in Volodine's universe, the writer is pitted in a pathetic struggle against silence and sickness--that is, when she's not about to be murdered by random lunatics or fellow inmates. Consisting of seven loosely interlocking stories, Writers is a window onto a chaotic reality where expressing oneself brings along with it repercussions both absurd and frighteningly familiar.

Dalkey Archive Press

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
09/01/2014
Volodine's (Minor Angels) collection captures, in seven linked stories, the essence of tormented fictional European writers who challenge the preconceived notions of the profession. Standouts include "Mathias Olbane," which details the suicide contemplation of a skin-diseased ex-con who hasn't published so much as composed obsessive lists during his time in prison. Set in the near future, "The Strategy of Silence in the Work of Bogdan Tarassiev" traces the career of a reclusive crime writer whose notable stylistic tic is a "lack of variety in the names given to characters." The humorous "Acknowledgments" functions as a mockery of modern authors' smarmy tendency to express gratuity by challenging what is and isn't appropriate to the form. Those unfamiliar with the author's previous projects, written under several pseudonyms, will get little help from the interview opening the volume, in which, without providing sufficient context, Volodine refers to an ongoing literary movement he calls "post-exoticism." And though he places some of the fictional writers into the camp, nowhere in the collection does he provide a precise idea of its objectives or aims. Despite the murkiness of Volodine's literary mission, his textured portraits are convincing and well-rendered, and he has written the type of open-ended work that will capture the attention of lovers of lit crit as fiction. (Aug.)
Complete Review

Very rewarding: there's pleasure in the texts themselves, and there's a sense of a much larger whole, which, with more effort, might slowly be grasped.

From the Publisher

"His talent surfaces time and again in luxurious, hypnotic ways." -- Publishers Weekly

Dalkey Archive Press

New York Times Book Review

Clever and incisive.

The Nation Magazine

His quirky and eccentric narrative achieves quite staggering and electric effects.... Dazzling in its epic proportions and imaginative scope.

Kirkus Reviews
2014-06-17
A loosely concatenated series of seven stories, all focusing on writers in various and cunning guises.The opening tale introduces Mathias Olbane, a suicidal writer and former inmate at a penitentiary now plagued with oncoglyphosis, a rare illness whose manifestation is a “retraction of the scalp,” a condition that torments him. Convicted of being a member of a terrorist organization, despite his emphatic denials, Olbane served 26 years—and came out with plenty of material.“Begin-ing” plunges us into a Kafkaesque world in which a man is being tormented into making a confession about almost anything—“that he has contacts with parallel universes, with aliens, that since his birth he has been a double agent"—although he professes that his mind is completely empty. Bruno and Greta, his incredulous interlocutors, turn out to be sadistic, murderous and insane. “Acknowledgments,” one of the few stories with a lighter tone, is in fact a delicious sendup of a writer’s elaborate appreciation for all the help he received in completing his novel, but also included is a list of those who did not aid the creative process, those whose “malicious critiques, mean-spirited little reviews, and unpardonable silences carried substantial weight towards my books’ lack of success.” In the futuristic “The Strategy of Silence in the Work of Bogdan Tarassiev,” the narrator explores an author whose career spans a period from 2017 to 2053 and whose periodic silences raise cryptic issues about creativity. Many of Volodine’s writers inhabit a “post-exotic” world, in which they’re obligated to remember the atrocities and horrors of the 20th century—and to serve as repositories of a dark cultural memory.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781628970401
  • Publisher: Dalkey Archive Press
  • Publication date: 8/5/2014
  • Series: French Literature Series
  • Pages: 190
  • Sales rank: 1,475,965
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.30 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Antoine Volodine is the primary pseudonym of a French writer of Slavic origins, born in 1950. Volodine has published nineteen books under this name, including Minor Angels and Naming the Jungle, both of which are available in English translation. His other names and books include Lutz Bassmann ( We Monks and Soldiers) and Manuela Draeger ( In the Time of the Blue Ball).

Dalkey Archive Press

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