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Faculty Book: Wayne Koestenbaum

Wayne Koestenbaum

Moira Orfei in Aigues-Mortes
(Soft Skull Press, 2004; 256 pp.)

Poet and cultural critic Wayne Koestenbaum's first novel shines a hot light on the treacherous crossroads of sex, death, family, and popular culture in a world peopled by piano-playing relatives, prostitutes, muses, and manipulators. Five years of breakdown separate pianist Theo Mangrove's last recital in Europe from his planned comeback. Overcome with the belief that Moira Orfei, queen of the Italian circus during the 1960s, must perform with him, Theo begins to write to her and to pen what may or may not be her cryptic replies into his notebooks. In a fugue of notes and troubling memories, Theo prepares for Aigues-Mortes, struggling with Moira's guidance towards one final, full celebration of "the partial, the flawed, the almost, the not quite." Koestenbaum is a professor of English at The Graduate Center.

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Submitted on: SEP 24, 2004

Category: English, Faculty Books