On Wing

On Wing

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By Róbert Gál
Translated by Mark Kanak

Publication date:
May 19, 2015

On Wing, the first published work of fiction by the Slovak poet-philosopher Róbert Gál, is a constellation of hundreds of aphorisms, dreams, anecdotes, and inquiries, all written in a restless, searching, "improvisational" prose whose techniques reflect those of Bernhard, Nietzsche, and Kierkegaard, not to mention the saxophonist and composer John Zorn, who makes a brief cameo as a character.

“This is no ordinary novel. On Wing is a combination of vignettes, aphorisms, and word play. Gál moves fluidly between these forms, exploring throughout the book the flexibility (perhaps the hidden secrets) of language. As with all of Gál’s work, the key is to linger, to re-read, to slow down and think. Gál offers a much needed antidote to a literature that is meant to be quickly consumed and discarded.” —Seth Rogoff

“Beneath the hard exterior of Gál’s language are infinite, almost savage depths. In the midst of this untamed delirium is what a young Cioran calls ‘the lyricism of last moments.’” 3:AM Magazine

“[T]his approach—this looking inwards, to the lived-through past, and to dreams (‘Memories and dreams are one and the same’, Gál writes in Agnomia)—does suggest an investigation that is very much founded on the personal, even as he elsewhere reaches for the more abstract and universal.” The Complete Review

“Reading On Wing is a singular experience. And unique, I would imagine, to every reader.” —Joseph Schreiber

Róbert Gál is a Slovak-born writer and editor living in Prague. He is the author of several books of aphorisms, fiction, and philosophical fragments available in English translation, including Tractatus (Schism Press, 2022), Naked Thoughts (Black Sun Lit, 2019), Agnomia (Dalkey Archive Press, 2018), On Wing (Dalkey Archive Press, 2015), and Signs & Symptoms (Twisted Spoon Press, 2003). Find more on www.robert-gal.com.

Mark Kanak is an author, translator and radioplay artist living in Berlin. He writes in German and English, has written 6 books and published countless translations (Serner, Schwab, Brinkmann and many others), and is the author of Lie Detector (Ritter Verlag, 2023) and Tractatus illogico-insanus (Ritter Verlag, 2018). His most recent radioplays include Tollhaus and Atmung, both Belleville Verlag (Munich) and both performed by Blixa Bargeld.