Clutching a bouquet of flowers, hurrying to catch his bus, and arguing with the driver once he's on, a man rushes to a train station platform to meet a woman. This sequence of events occurs and recurs in remarkably different variations in Vain Art of the Fugue.
In one version, the bus driver ignores the traffic signals and is killed in the ensuing crash. In another, the protagonist is thrown off the bus, and as he chases after it, a crowd of strangers joins him in the pursuit.
As the book unfolds, the protagonist, his lovers, and the people he meets become increasingly vivid and complex figures in the crowded Bucharest cityscape. Themes, conflicts, and characters interweave and overlap, creating a book that is at once chaotic and perfectly composed.
About the Author
Dumitru Tsepeneag is one of the most innovative Romanian writers of the second half of the twentieth century. In 1975, while he was in France, his citizenship was revoked by Ceaucescu, and he was forced into exile. In the 1980s, he started to write in French. He returned to his native language after the Ceaucescu regime ended, but continues to write in his adopted language as well.
Andrea Reiter is a Research Fellow at the School of Modern Languages, Univeristy of Southampton, UK.