By Dumitru Tsepeneag
Translated by Alistair Ian Blyth
A director is trying to adapt a short story he once wrote for the screen. The story is about an isolated train station under threat by a giant eagle in a small town where rumors of war are rumbling. But the film shoot is plagued by accidents. The actors and crew don’t understand the script. They argue over its meaning and perhaps come to identify with its subject matter a little too closely. Soon enough reality, such as it is, begins to crumble. A Novel to Read on the Train is a dreamlike and ominous novel by a great European writer—and the first novel he composed in French.
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 In 1975, while he was in France, his citizenship was revoked by Ceaucescu, and he was forced into exile.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. He lives in France.
Alistair Ian Blyth is the translator of many works by Romanian authors, including Teodorovici’s Our Circus Presents, Lungu’s I’m An Old Commie!, and several novels by Tsepeneag, all of which are available from Dalkey Archive Press. He lives in Romania.