T. O. Bobe

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Translated, with an afterword, by Sean Cotter / February 2019 / 4.5 x 7, 72 pp. / 978-1-939663-42-9

“Death doesn't scare me. Its barbershop does.”

Mr. Gica is the world's greatest barber. He is one-point-sixty-two meters tall and weighs fifty-eight kilograms. He is also the fastest barber in the world. He holds the world record for sculptural hairstyling and has won three Olympic golds in neck massage. But his specialty is the shave.

Mr. Gica’s shop has six mirrors on the walls, six sinks, six barber chairs, and no employees. Always crowded, its chairs always occupied, the barbershop forms an off-kilter microcosm: a world of melancholic kitsch that includes opera singers, football players, gladiators, the secret police, fantasies of Edith Piaf, four lost hippies, and other ludic figures—including our superhuman protagonist's ever-lurking antagonist in perpetual disguise, Dorel Vasilescu.

Trying on a variety of voices and modes like so many work coats, Curl scissor-snips love poems, mock-critical commentaries with footnotes, dreams, diary entries, streams of words without punctuation, cultural references, and a number of rebellious hairs off a number of necks to sculpt a patchwork portrait of universal loneliness.

T. O. Bobe is a prize-winning Romanian poet, novelist, and screenwriter living in Bucharest.


“Presented in a typically lovely little pocket-sized edition from Wakefield Press, and with a helpful Afterword by translator Sean Cotter that gives some biographical information about the author, as well as offering some interesting observations about the translation itself, Curl is an appealing little work.”
—M. A. Orthofer, The Complete Review

“Bobe is the leading examiner of kitsch in Romania, a kind of anti-Eliade who snoops around the trash dump rather than the hierophant. Bucla is already a classic back home and has now been translated into English with great élan by Mr. Sean Cotter.”
—Martin Billheimer, Counterpunch

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