Roger Lewinter

Roger Lewinter was born in Montauban, France, in 1941, to Austrian Jewish parents. The family moved to Switzerland during the war, and he has lived much of his life in Geneva. For more than forty years he has worked as a writer (of both literary and scholarly works), an editor, and a translator (of Georg Groddeck, Karl Kraus, Elias Canetti, Robert Walser, and Rilke, among others). Among his dozen books are three works of fiction.

The Attraction of Things

by Roger Lewinter

Translated from the French 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.”…
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Story of Love in Solitude

Fiction by Roger Lewinter

Translated from the French 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.…
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Arriving in elegant, bilingual editions beautifully translated by Rachel Careau, The Attraction of Things and Story of Love in Solitude are the first two books by Roger Lewinter to be published in English. Although written in the 1980s, these works seem anything but dated. Instead they feel immune to literary fashion. They exert the fascination of something done carefully, even exhaustively, for its own sake rather than to please anyone else.
—Dorian Stuber, The Quarterly Conversation
[Lewinter’s] unique literary voice…is that of an obsessive, a philosopher, and a miniaturist.
—Karl Wolff, New York Journal of Books
A melody […] sinuous, secret, haunting and, finally, dazzling.
—Jean Frémon, Proustiennes
A book that confounds the distinction between fiction and autobiography.
—Brian Evenson, Electric Literature
The Attraction of Things and Story of Love in Solitude, two short books by Roger Lewinter, are the first by the French author, editor, and translator to appear in English. Majestically rendered by Rachel Careau, their publication represents an opportunity to give Lewinter the prominence he deserves…
—K. Thomas Kahn, BOMB Magazine
[W]riters working at this level of care, the shifting of a word, a comma, can have a tremendous impact, even a secret drama.
Electric Literature
…us[es] language to alchemize the ordinary into something extraordinary.
Electric Literature
It takes some patience to walk with Lewinter through these passages, but if you do stay with him, you might arrive at that gem you have been looking for, or one that you weren’t even aware you needed.
—Poupeh Missaghi, Asymptote Journal
Lewinter perfectly captures the strangeness of infatuation and the way in which it becomes all too easy to project one’s own narrative onto the bodies of those around us.
—Thea Hawlin, Asymptote Journal
Short and very powerful.
—Scott Esposito, Conversational Reading
Lewinter’s prose—lengthy sentences, punctuated largely by commas, semicolons, and dashes—has hypnotic appeal when combined with his tendency toward meandering asides and lovely melancholy.
Publishers Weekly
Lewinter unquestionably brings a lot of gravitas to a brief, abstracted tale. A provocative, sometimes-baffling set of riffs on inanimate objects and death, in that order.
Kirkus Reviews
A daunting but well-crafted and original look at relationships.
Kirkus Reviews
You absolutely must read Roger Lewinter, beginning with two perfect narratives: The Attraction of Things and Story of Love in Solitude.
—David Lespiau, D-Fiction
Roger Lewinter’s works, both humanly touching and artistically innovative, are spectacularly individual. Obsessively, and in the most incisive detail, they portray some of the crucial events and ideas of his life in prose at once headlong and passionate in its pacing, and tight and cerebral in its articulation. In this volume, Lewinter’s highly intricate syntax, which necessarily so closely reflects and reproduces his complexly layered thinking, has been meticulously and eloquently recreated by Rachel Careau in her masterful translation.
—Lydia Davis
The work of Roger Lewinter is essentially a work of reflection on meaning, on units of meaning and the logical problems posed by their ordering in the sentence: each word, each sense, leading to a calling into question of the text as a whole. This sentence, which can be compared to a Kashmir shawl in its infinite interlacing, woven in one piece and from a single thread, raises, beyond the simple syntactic difficulties, logical problems of thought that no writing had up to now approached.
—Lorenzo Valentin
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