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Rachel Careau

Rachel Careau is a writer and translator and the author of one book of prose poems, Itineraries. Her work has appeared recently in Plume and Two Lines. She began translating the writing of the Swiss author Roger Lewinter while in graduate school in 1989 and spent time working closely with him in Geneva in 2012. In addition to continuing to translate Lewinter’s texts, she is working on a collection of her own short prose. She holds a BA from Barnard College and an MFA in writing from Bard College and lives with her husband in Hudson, New York.

The Attraction of Things

Fiction by Roger Lewinter

translated by Rachel Careau

The Attraction of Things concerns the entirety of beauty and the possibility of grace, relayed via obsessions with rare early gramophone records, the theater, translation, dying parents: all these elements are relayed in a dizzying strange traffic of cultural artifacts, friendships, losses, discoveries, and love. Roger Lewinter believes that in the realm of art, “the distinction between life and death loses its relevance, the one taking place in the other.”

Whereas Story of Love in Solitude is a group of small stories, The Attraction of Things is a continuous narrative (more or less) of a man seeking (or stumbling upon) enlightenment.

The Attraction of Things,” states Lewinter, “is the story of a being who lets himself go toward what attracts him, toward what he attracts—beings, works, things—and who, through successive encounters, finds the way out of the labyrinth, to the heart, where the bolt of illumination strikes. This is the story of a letting go toward the illumination.”

Story of Love in Solitude

Fiction by Roger Lewinter

translated by Rachel Careau

Several stories inhabit Roger Lewinter’s first small book to appear in English. 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 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.”