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.”
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
Rachel Careau performs a heroic feat with her translation, capturing the subtle gradations inflaming Lewinter’s various passions.
— 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
…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
Short and very powerful.
— Scott Esposito, Conversational Reading
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
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.