In a discontinuous, constantly modulated narrative, Federman offers the circular telling of the story of an ""old man"" (the date is January, 2000) who is going to be deported at age 82 to a space colony. The reason for the deportation is never given--but it probably has something to do with the old man's history, the simple fact that he has a history. Concentration-camp survivor, metafictional novelist, gambler, lover of politically-involved Sixties movie starlets: the old man's past is as subversive and unexpected as the story itself. And Federman, with Beckett's ""twofold vibration"" (the past is equal to the present) in mind, uses two unreliable, anagrammatic narrators--Namredef and Moinous--to tell the tale of this ""futilitarian"" and his moth-eaten adventures: a visit to Dachau; deathcamp-train memories; dazzling nights going for broke in Monte Carlo and at the casinos of Germany; playing billiards with cut-throat French pimps. Plus: parenthetical meditations on pessimism, laughter, Jewish history, and Dostoevsky's mock-execution. A self-conscious literary construction? Perhaps. But Federman has invested heart as well as head here: the sad-preposterous echoes are directly, profitably, from Beckett; the Sehadenfreude is very mellow; and, though not for everyone, this is worthwhile experimental fiction--less in love with itself than with the grave comedy of being. . . and having been.