In the case of Marius Kociejowski's The Pebble Chance, Dirda confesses that even prior to the time of reading "there were several tugs on my attention, starting with the word “feuilletons.”"
Not often seen in English, this French word, associated with newspapers, might be translated in various ways: columns, trifles, “casuals” or even essays. That inimitable humorist S.J. Perelman used to refer to his comic pieces as “feuilletons.” Second, this Biblioasis paperback is slightly taller than most trade paperbacks, and its front and back covers are folded back on themselves to create dust-jacket flaps, a design feature common to European books. The Pebble Chance is consequently elegant in appearance and a pleasure to handle. Third, the author photograph of Kociejowski, with his handsome Slavic face and prematurely gray hair, makes him look like a Central European poet, a Zbigniew Herbert or Czeslaw Milosz.And as for The Pebble Chance's content? Once he was drawn in, Dirda discovered a work whose virtues were equal to his initial intrigue, and found much to admire:
The Pebble Chance links together a meditation on Bernini’s sculpture of Apollo and Daphne, Kociejowski’s “continuing poetic silence,” the Italian game of bocce, and the place of skill and chance in artistic creation. It is a little tour-de-force, and...proffers the reader equal measures of autobiography, insight and quirky charm.
A rave stand-alone review of this sui genesis collection of literary essays in one of America's leading papers. Read the full review here.