Mircea Cărtărescu: Travesti [Travesty]

The latest addition to my website is Mircea Cărtărescu‘s Travesti [Travesty]. The novel is narrated by the thirty-four year old Victor, a successful writer but with a troubled mind, clearly traumatised by an event that happened when he was seventeen. He is now writing the book about the event which took place on a school week long trip to a remote forest encampment. He is a loner and does not join in the rowdiness of his schoolmates, preferring either to go off on his own or with a couple of the serious pupils. We learn about his success as a writer in later life, all the while building up to the key event that takes place at the fancy dress party during the closing evening. Lulu, a boy, dresses up as a girl at the party and then tries to seduce Victor. What happens next, which is not simply what you might expect, but involves Cărtărescu’s trademark intense visions, will leave him permanently traumatised. As always with Cărtărescu, it is these intense visions that make the novel, with Victor living in his own world but also in a world that most of us do not see, hidden away in the recesses of his mind. Perhaps not entirely surprisingly, this book has been translated into ten languages but not English.

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