The New York Times (Anderson Tepper)

Publié le Wednesday  7 March 2012
Mis à jour le Monday  19 March 2012

Europeana: A Brief History of the Twentieth Century

By Anderson Tepper

The New York Times, June 5, 2005.


Europeana:. By Patrik Ourednik. Translated by Gerald Turner. (Dalkey Archive, paper, $12.50)

Ourednik, a Czech who emigrated to France in the 1980’s, has written a ponderous-sounding, textbooklike monologue that accomplishes a literary sleight of hand. Europeana, translated from the Czech, has no protagonist and essentially no plot. Instead, Ourednik piles on lists, statistics and a hodgepodge of social theory – an annotated Harper’s Index that gradually takes the shape of a bizarre narrative, a frenetic tour through the absurdities and horrors of the past century. Touching on subjects and events as disparate as the invention of the bra, Barbie dolls, Scientology, eugenics, the Internet, war, genocide and concentration camps, it unspools in a relentless monotone that becomes unexpectedly engaging, even frightening.

A ponderous-sounding, textbooklike monologue that accomplishes a literary sleight of hand. It gradually takes the shape of a bizarre narrative, a frenetic tour through the absurdities and horrors of the past century; it becomes unexpectedly engaging, even frightening.