By Alistair Ian Blyth
Alistair Ian Blyth’s Card Catalogue is a book about books.
Set in Bucharest in the decade after the Revolution, it presents a series of dreamlike narratives loosely linked by the subject of libraries: book hoarding, book hunting, book burning, and, above all, the dreams of infinite other books—past and future—that every individual codex volume inspires. Whether he is describing his encounters with Gribski (whose strange hidden library in Bucharest he is to see but once) or itemizing the various books whose existence he has dreamed (including “a collection of children’s paeans to Ceausescu bound in the same volume as a slim commentary on Pound’s Canto XIV”) Blyth shows himself to be a card catalogue unto himself. In the tradition of Jorge Luis Borges, Italo Calvino, and Alberto Manguel, this book is bound to please.
Alistair Ian Blyth (b. 1970) has translated numerous works of fiction and philosophy from the Romanian, most recently the novels The Bulgarian Truck by Dumitru Tsepeneag and The Encounter by Gabriela Adamesteanu for Dalkey Archive Press.