cover image Not One Day

Not One Day

Anne Garréta, trans. from the French by Emma Ramadan. Deep Vellum (Consortium, dist.), $14.95 trade paper (150p) ISBN 978-1-941920-54-1

From Oulipo member and French author of the genderless love story Sphinx comes a short but deep exploration of the nature and complexity of desire and longing. The newly translated work is laid out like a confessional writing experiment. For five hours each day over the course of a month, Garréta aims to record unedited memories of past romances as she remembers them. The project stretches on for more than a year, and the end result is a series of 12 vignettes that ranges in intensity and focus. The women she describes come in all stripes. There’s C* in the Roman night club, whom she was both attracted to and repulsed by; E*, a boring married novelist who used Garréta to explore extramarital same-sex fantasies; and D*, who sparked a weekend-long spree of orgiastic sex in every position and involving every piece of furniture. In recounting her friendship with the older K*, Garréta realizes for the first time how much she adores and misses her. While the idea of such a collection seems either refreshingly lurid or self-indulgent, Garréta’s prose leans more toward distanced and academic than erotic. Though she asks pressing questions throughout—“How many times have we truly, savagely, imperatively desired a body?”; how do you know if a conquest reciprocates your feelings?; Is it possible to rid yourself of the self?—the book’s final chapter hints at her dissatisfaction with both her methods of inquiry and the answers she’s finally left with. (Apr.)