Certainly, Compact is one of the most compellingly original works of fiction of the postwar period. Composedas if a musical scoreof six intertwining narratives (each distinguished by its own voice, tense, and typeface), Compact has lost none of its remarkable freshness or groundbreaking innovation since its first appearance in 1966.
But along with its striking originality, Compact is also a work rich in off-beat humor and great humanity. Compact is the story of a blind man living in a city of his own imagining. Confined to his deathbed, he engages in mental walks through the world's capitals. These sightless excursions explode in a plethora of musical arrangements, sexual encounters, and mysterious funeral rites. Meanwhile, a Japanese collector and his transvestite assistant watch over the blind man in exchangeupon the latter's deathfor his magnificent tattooed skin. As a further ordeal, the protagonist finds himself prey to the whims of a sadistic French girl in the next apartment.
A novelistic tour-de-force, Compact fully bears out La Tribune de Geneve's judgment of Maurice Roche's work as "the most important literary upheaval to hit France in the last decade."
"Maurice Roche is probably the most interesting novelist in Franceinteresting and truly gifted. . . . He is a writer's writer creating novels for tomorrow out of a profound awareness of yesterday's art." (David Hayman, TriQuarterly)
"This 'compact' text reflects Roche's impressive virtuosity and soaring imagination in his experimentations with form and style. . . . An intriguing and demanding yet very interesting novel." (Books Abroad)
"Maurice Roche's Compact . . . is a difficult yet very significant work. . . . Polizzotti's remarkably successful translation, which respects all these qualities of the original reproducing, page for page, the layout of the French edition, will do much to make Roche's contribution to the novel available to American readers. In a work so full of nonreproducible puns as this . . . Polizzotti has pulled it off well." (Choice 6-89)
"One notices in Roche's work the characteristics of Mallarme's 'Un Coup de des ?', the projectivist verse of Charles Olson, the presentational qualities of concrete poetry, and the works of James Joyce all rolled into one strange hybrid. . . . Readers reel through Compact reading a variety of 'narratives' (for lack of a better word) that are visually separated by typography. Roche's words work together in much the same way polyphony might be used in musical composition. . . . This feat of manipulation of texts captures most of the reader's attention." (Minnesota Daily 5-16-90)
"This is gymnastic linguistics being performed vis-ˆ-vis broken space that makes the 'story' what it is: energy making beautiful music with itself while simultaneously inviting the reader to make a narrative out of it. . . . Your way is the only way to read this book. That's why it's so special. The text's interweavings make reading a literal blast because like 'Glas' and 'Hopscotch', it too opens you up to an alternate structure where everything is permitted. . . . He's the medium, the media, the channeler, the lust for language lost, live via satellite." (Mark Amerika, American Book Review Sept-Oct 89)
|Publisher:||Dalkey Archive Press|
|Edition description:||1st ed|
|Product dimensions:||6.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.60(d)|
About the Author
He has authored and contributed to a number of titles, including "Mega-Events and Modernity: Olympics and Expos in the Growth of Global Culture" (Routledge, 2000), "Europe and Cosmopolitanism" (Liverpool University Press, 2007) and "The Handbook of Nations and Nationalism "(SAGE, 2006), as well as writing articles for journals such as "Citizenship Studies", "Time and Society" and "Cultural Policy".
Mark Polizzotti's previous books include the collaborative novel S. (1991), Lautréamont Nomad (1994), Revolution of the Mind: The Life of André Breton (1995), The New Life: Poems (1998), and a study of Luis Buñuel's Los Olvidados for the British Film Institute (2006). His articles, reviews, and poetry have appeared in The New Republic, ARTnews, Parnassus, Partisan Review, and elsewhere. He is also the translator of over thirty books, including works by Gustave Flaubert, Marguerite Duras, André Breton, and Jean Echenoz. He lives in Boston, where he directs the publications program at the Museum of Fine Arts.