The Bath Fugues
Giramondo $29.95 pb, 364 pp
Living as a displaced person in Berlin during the early 1930s was no picnic, especially if you happened to have a Jewish wife. This was the situation Vladimir Nabokov found himself in, so it is hardly surprising that at one point he considered emigrating to Australia. Had he done so, how different would our literature look today? Perhaps we would have more novels like Brian Castro’s latest, for The Bath Fugues is so stylish, cosmopolitan, sinister and funny that it could justly be called Nabokovian in its lineage. This is not so much a departure for Castro as an amplification. His narrators have always been a slippery bunch and his prose invariably lavish, but rarely has his tone been as darkly comic as it is in this new novel.