Stefan Agopian

Excerpt from

Critics about

Novel, "Fiction LTD" series, Polirom, 2004, 296 pages, format 130 x 200 mm

Copyright: Polirom

Translation rights sold to: All rights available

Critics about

“For days on end, Tache, boyar Lapai, and the Dwarf traverse the plain, heading from Oltenia towards Bucharest in order to reach Tudor’s revolution ; they linger at inns, they wassail and spin out tales. Their ‘heroic’ expedition fails lamentably, and they miss the train of History and action. Their profession is waiting, procrastination, exasperating idleness, expectancy (a malady that critic Eugen Negrici, Ştefan Agopian’s greatest admirer, names ‘adiaphoria’) – none of which rids them of the misfortune of becoming victims of a diabolical crime. Mamona the Younger implacably plots. With satisfaction Tache de Velvet unfolds the story of his life, adding to the reconstruction the entire palette of possible colours, sensations, feelings and rhythms.”


“So many wonderful things have been said about Tache de Velvet that a trifling oddity might be slipped in among the older and newer praises without offence. And this oddity, a fantastical claim and nothing more, goes something like this : Tache de Catifea is a never-before-seen seashell.”


“The novel presents the strange and fantastic history of a boyar family from nineteenth-century Oltenia. Oltenia becomes a space where objects are allowed to float ; where curious angels and agreeable demons live together among cattle and people ; and where the brilliance of the ideas springs from the sweetness and restfulness of prattle. Oltenian boyar Tache Vlădescu, nicknamed Tache de Velvet, is a Balkan Oblomov, plunged into idleness and indecision, strange in bearing, but a storyteller like no other when it comes to his many misfortunes, guessing whence come threats and anticipating states of grace. The first edition of the novel was published in 1981, but the present edition is considered by the author to be definitive.”



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