Blue Self-Portrait

Blue Self-Portrait


Noémi Lefebvre

Translated from the French by Sophie Lewis

On a flight from Berlin to Paris, a woman haunted by German composer Arnold Schoenberg’s self-portrait reflects on her romantic encounter with a German-American pianist-composer. Obsessive, darkly comic, and full of angst, Blue Self-Portrait unfolds among Berlin’s cultural institutions, but is located in the mid-air flux between contrary impulses, with repetitions and variations that explore the possibilities and limitations of art, history, and connection.

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"Blue Self-Portrait wraps its difficulties in mercurial humor and wordplay, gamely translated from the French by Sophie Lewis. It’s inviting enough to read and re-read, and dense enough to provoke different responses each time."—The Wall Street Journal

"Blue Self-Portrait is inventive and funny—as well as clever—cycling at breakneck speed through the atrocities of the 20th century."—The Millions

"Blue Self-Portrait may be the antidote to our condition of having too many things on the mind."—KQED

"Blue Self-Portrait glances askance at the mythos of male genius and the mute, compliant notion of womanhood on which it relies."—Public Books

"A probing, wild, and fascinating novel."—Publishers Weekly

“These subjects, ranging from anxiety that his sexual desirability is dependent on his girlfriend imagining she’s sleeping with the next Schoenberg, to the paralysing effect of nazism on art, to beautiful insights into the compositional process, ensure that the book is no melancholic meditation on lost loves. For a comparatively short novel, Blue Self-Portrait yokes together an extraordinary profusion of ideas."—Eimear McBride, The Guardian

“Were we to note the musical expression with which Blue Self-Portrait is performed, it would be con bravura, or even scatenato: unchained, wildly.”—BOMB Magazine


First Published: April 3, 2018
5.25 x 8 | 152 pages
Rights: NA
978-1-945492-10-5 (paperback)
978-1-945492-12-9 (ebook)