Lady V.

D. R. Popa

ISBN1-933132-31-0   $14.00 

Popa's world of displaced immigrants in a wacky world is filled with pathos and humor. These people, in the throes of their misunderstandings, overtaken by emotions, filled with desires and frustrations, hold up a mirror to today's America. This America is still the land of immigrants, but it is a different place from the one once described by William Saroyan

or Frank Capra. Still, Popa's vision surveys this newer landscape with warmth and humor, just like Saroyan and Capra did.

     Andrei Codrescu, author of New Orleans, Mon Amour


There is a bit for everyone and a lot for few in these prose pieces. D.R. Popa’s Lady V. is still a virgin after four marriages, yet one can’t say if this entitles her to travel from the actual world of the Frick Museum into Whistler’s paintings exhibited therein. With a touch of Hawthorne and a bow to Henry James, “Lady V.” invites the delicate reader to step into the story and see from the inside its contours. From this refined decadence the world goes on psyche’s sly fantastic slopes in a “Choice” reminiscent of Salem 1692, to then return, with the delirious humor of “Panic Syndrome!,” to Manhattan, the psychoanalysts’ neighborhood. At the end of all these turns the reader gets it: nobody invented anxiety, but in the Great Belly of the City, full of butterflies, the legion of pros is there to shrink it. Popa is one of the greatest living Romanian writers, thus he came to live in New York. He did so with the passion and grin that this world’s delta elicits. His oeuvre bears witness to the City’s environment of Angst and laughter, which are not always at odds with the moods of the times as seen from other shores. His texts show flickers at the end of each tunnel though which the reader is invited to walk. Popa’s scintillating style, his cunning weaving of fantastic and ironic threads, and his quicksilver psychological observation are not betrayed by these translations.

     Călin-Andrei Mihăilescu, author of Fiction Updated: Theories of Fictionality, Narratology, and Poetics


D. R. Popa is a master of the absurd, so if you're a Popa character, you better hang on to your hat. It's guaranteed you'll find yourself shouting or gritting your teeth: “I am not here! This is not happening to me!”--but it is, or will at limits of tenderness or comedy. The three novellas in this collection suck their protagonists into the action according to the fairy tale principle that it's happening just this once as never before because if it weren't this story couldn't be told--right? On that basis, the stories move through flashes of time. Anything can happen in these surroundings that we haven't seen before but which we nevertheless recognize in great detail. Litterateurs may be happy to learn that at the level of allusion Popa answers the question: what would happen if Henry James, Edith Wharton , and Oscar Wilde went to a party with Woody Allen, Nathaniel Hawthorne, I. L. Caragiale, Borges, and some really heavy French guys. And Lady V is, indeed, a personal collection where different periods blend together, but that ain't the half of it. The plots matter as well as the characters--and in ways that shouldn't be given away because it would be crying shame to limit the fun.

     Jean Harris, author of Diffidence

D.R. POPA (Dumitru Radu Popa) is a native of Romania who emmigrated to the United States in 1986. His literary works in Romanian include a book length critical essay about French writer Antoine de Saint-Exupery, five collections of short stories, and two novels. He also translated Romanian poetry into English and wrote literary criticism. One of his short stories, Panic Syndrome! was published in “Exquisite Corpse”, No.9 (May 2001) He was

awarded the literary prize for debut in Romania (1969), the award for prose (1970), and the Romanian National Writers Guild Award in 1997.  D.R. Popa is an Assistant Dean and Director of the Law Library at New York University School of Law.