After reading Raymond Federman's recent novel about his life on a farm in Nazi occupied France, Return To Manure, I've decided that the secret to the brilliance in his writing is really deceptively simple. It's all about the numbers. I've calculated a rough word count for his recent novel, Return To Manure, thusly: an average of 12 words per line, an average of 25 lines per page, multiplied by 200 pages = Federman's novel Return to Manure. I believe that after reading and re-reading Return to Manure, the English language rewrite of his French novel Retour Au Fumier, the secret to his brilliance lies in the numbers. The word count. What does it all add up to? Roughly speaking, according to my average calculations, the rough word count for Federman's novel Return to Manure is 58,000 words. I believe that is the secret to the digressive brilliance of Return to Manure, a novel by Raymond Federman, an American writer a native of France famous in Germany and France winner of numerous awards and a brilliant digressive novel called Return to Manure and thirteen other novels. He currently lives in California.

I sent a letter to Raymond Federman, author of his recent novel Return to Manure, explaining my calculations. This was his response:

my dear David that's what writing is all about
to find a way of accumulating words on paper

12 words per line
25 lines per page

at the end of a couple of years you have a book

you should count the words and the lines
in the new novel I just finished

it's 204 pages long
I wrote it in French

it took me exactly 157 days to write it
therefore less words per line
less lines per page

it's that simple

everything I write is true - more or less -- though I agree with you that Return to Manure may read like a true memoire -- the way it functions however is that Federman and Erica [the fictitious ones] go in search of the farm in order to verify the bunch of souvenirs [more or less true] Federman [the real one] has in his head - but of course when they find the farm the souvenirs no longer match the reality of the place

you got that

or is that too confusing

wait till you read the book I just finished which related my childhood -- that is to say the 13 years [or was it 14?] that precede the closet -- it call CHUT: HISTOIRE D'UNE ENFANCE -- yes in French. It's a the publisher's now.

the most important - and you say it - is that it rings true

as D.H. Lawrence once put it

Trust the tale
don't trust the writer