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The Bulgarian Truck: A Building Site Beneath the Open Sky

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The writer-narrator of The Bulgarian Truck has hit upon a new technique for constructing a novel, which he calls "a building site beneath the open sky," but he can't seem to persuade his more widely read wife, Marianne, a character from an earlier novel of his, that it's any good. She is in New York, receiving treatment for a mysterious condition hitherto unknown to medica The writer-narrator of The Bulgarian Truck has hit upon a new technique for constructing a novel, which he calls "a building site beneath the open sky," but he can't seem to persuade his more widely read wife, Marianne, a character from an earlier novel of his, that it's any good. She is in New York, receiving treatment for a mysterious condition hitherto unknown to medical science, and her sardonic advice, imparted over the telephone, only hinders the novel's progress. Meanwhile, the narrator's extra-marital affair with Milena, a young Slovak novelist who writes in French, is turning sour, not helped by the large age difference between them and the fact that her Parisian publisher is far more prestigious than his. The affair ends after an acrimonious exchange of e-mails, in which she is ultimately revealed to be nothing but a literary device. Interspersed among the hapless narrator's accounts of his novel's growing pains, the story of the characters he has invented--Tsvetan, a Bulgarian truck driver, and Beatrice, an impenetrable French erotic dancer haunted by a childhood obsession with hedgehogs unfolds according to its own oneiric logic, before hurtling to a fatal conclusion."


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The writer-narrator of The Bulgarian Truck has hit upon a new technique for constructing a novel, which he calls "a building site beneath the open sky," but he can't seem to persuade his more widely read wife, Marianne, a character from an earlier novel of his, that it's any good. She is in New York, receiving treatment for a mysterious condition hitherto unknown to medica The writer-narrator of The Bulgarian Truck has hit upon a new technique for constructing a novel, which he calls "a building site beneath the open sky," but he can't seem to persuade his more widely read wife, Marianne, a character from an earlier novel of his, that it's any good. She is in New York, receiving treatment for a mysterious condition hitherto unknown to medical science, and her sardonic advice, imparted over the telephone, only hinders the novel's progress. Meanwhile, the narrator's extra-marital affair with Milena, a young Slovak novelist who writes in French, is turning sour, not helped by the large age difference between them and the fact that her Parisian publisher is far more prestigious than his. The affair ends after an acrimonious exchange of e-mails, in which she is ultimately revealed to be nothing but a literary device. Interspersed among the hapless narrator's accounts of his novel's growing pains, the story of the characters he has invented--Tsvetan, a Bulgarian truck driver, and Beatrice, an impenetrable French erotic dancer haunted by a childhood obsession with hedgehogs unfolds according to its own oneiric logic, before hurtling to a fatal conclusion."

39 review for The Bulgarian Truck: A Building Site Beneath the Open Sky

  1. 5 out of 5

    MJ Nicholls

    The Bulgarian Truck by Dumitru Tepeneag is the first book ever to be classified as a “building site beneath the open sky” and not a novel. This mixture of unpunctuated Duras-inspired narrative about a murderous Bulgarian truck driver and the author-narrator’s ailing long distance email and phone relationship with a more successful writer (and other women with similar names), is a self-conscious marvel. An anti-novel (as the translator writes) also about the art of translation, and the frustratio The Bulgarian Truck by Dumitru Tepeneag is the first book ever to be classified as a “building site beneath the open sky” and not a novel. This mixture of unpunctuated Duras-inspired narrative about a murderous Bulgarian truck driver and the author-narrator’s ailing long distance email and phone relationship with a more successful writer (and other women with similar names), is a self-conscious marvel. An anti-novel (as the translator writes) also about the art of translation, and the frustration of being a Romanian ex-pat writing in French, the book takes potshots at translators and the author’s frustration at relying on them to reach a wider English audience. Derived in part from the “oneiric” movement, the text’s unpunctuated sections (which comprise the “oneiric” content) are the least coherent, however, provide a dreamy depth to what otherwise might be seen as an extended old man’s lament at becoming extinct in the digital age.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Eddie Watkins

    Three stars from me usually means I didn't much like it, but in this case it means I've now read nearly every available Tsepeneag book available in English and this seemed like a little more of the same; though that "same" is thoroughly enjoyable, scrupulously constructed (within a fragmented facade), free-spirited and doleful, grounded in practical humanism, and imbued with a casually cosmopolitan literariness that's a consistently pure delight to this bookworm. Three stars from me usually means I didn't much like it, but in this case it means I've now read nearly every available Tsepeneag book available in English and this seemed like a little more of the same; though that "same" is thoroughly enjoyable, scrupulously constructed (within a fragmented facade), free-spirited and doleful, grounded in practical humanism, and imbued with a casually cosmopolitan literariness that's a consistently pure delight to this bookworm.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Aveugle Vogel

    "somewhere in the background of the painting" "somewhere in the background of the painting"

  4. 5 out of 5

    World Literature Today

    This book was featured in the Nota Benes section of the Sept/Oct 2016 issue of World Literature Today Magazine. http://www.worldliteraturetoday.org/2... This book was featured in the Nota Benes section of the Sept/Oct 2016 issue of World Literature Today Magazine. http://www.worldliteraturetoday.org/2...

  5. 5 out of 5

    Matei Samihaian

  6. 4 out of 5

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  7. 4 out of 5

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  10. 4 out of 5

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  11. 5 out of 5

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  12. 5 out of 5

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  13. 5 out of 5

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  14. 4 out of 5

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  15. 4 out of 5

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  16. 4 out of 5

    Daniel C. Tremură

  17. 5 out of 5

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  18. 5 out of 5

    Gabriel Ispas

  19. 5 out of 5

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  20. 4 out of 5

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  21. 4 out of 5

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  22. 5 out of 5

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  26. 5 out of 5

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  27. 4 out of 5

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  29. 4 out of 5

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  30. 5 out of 5

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  32. 4 out of 5

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  33. 5 out of 5

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  34. 5 out of 5

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  35. 4 out of 5

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  36. 5 out of 5

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  39. 5 out of 5

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