Blue Self-Portrait (Paperback)
Blue Self-Portrait is written as a stream of consciousness; the rhythm mimics Arnold Schoenberg’s compositional in innovations. Don’t be put off by the long sentences and the absence of chapters, this book is easy to follow. The novel takes place during a 90 min. flight from Berlin to Paris. The main character reflects on a relationship she developed with a composer/pianist she met in a Berlin cafe who is also obsessed with Schoenberg’s self-portrait. Shame, self-doubt, denial, the ability to say one thing and then mean another, saying she simply isn’t capable of caring and then wallowing in shame at her forwardness, her thoughtlessness. This book isn’t without humor, but it’s an ironic, looking-backward humor, as the protagonist struggles, as we all do with self doubt.
*This book is published by Transit Books, dedicated to publishing women writers in translation.
April 2018 Indie Next List
“I'm not sure I can prepare you for this book. I thought I knew what I was getting into, and a mere 140 pages later I landed on a different continent altogether. Noemi Lefebvre has produced a riveting story in Blue Self-Portrait, one that investigates the many variations of a thought, of a memory. Our narrator looks at her exchange with a pianist from every possible vantage point, arriving at both confusion and conclusion within the same second. Lefebvre is a master of the sentence, and some of these passages unfurl with all the introspection and music of Marcel Proust. Sophie Lewis' translation is a most welcome import into our canon that will be appreciated for its poetry and its audacity.”
— John Gibbs, Green Apple Books on the Park, San Francisco, CA
Indie Next Selection
A probing, wild, and fascinating novel.--Publishers Weekly
On a flight from Berlin to Paris, a woman haunted by composer Arnold Schoenberg's self-portrait reflects on her romantic encounter with a pianist. Obsessive, darkly comic, and full of angst, Blue Self-Portrait unfolds among Berlin's cultural institutions, but is located in the mid-air flux between contrary impulses, with repetitions and variations that explore the possibilities and limitations of art, history, and connection.