Synopses & Reviews
Deported to a concentration camp from 1941 until the end of the war, Norman Manea again left his native Romania in 1986 to escape the Ceausescu regime. He now lives in New York. In this selection of essays, he explores the language and psyche of the exiled writer.
Among pieces on the cultural-political landscape of Eastern Europe and on the North America of today, there are astute critiques of fellow Romanian and American writers. Manea answers essential questions on censorship and on linguistic roots. He unravels the relationship of the mother tongue to the difficulties of translation. Above all, he describes what homelessness means for the writer.
These essays—many translated here for the first time—are passionate, lucid, and enriching, conveying a profound perspective on our troubled society.
“Manea demonstrates that he is an indispensable analyst of what it means to be a Romanian, and a Romanian Jew, and a writer, under fascism and communism. . . . The Fifth Impossibility [is] an ample offering of his work, his memories, his wise and acute challenges.”—David Mikics, New Republic
“Engaging, well-crafted, and at times striking . . . timely and insightful essays on writing, politics, and exile.”—Publishers Weekly
“Compelling subtlety and insight.”—Reginald Gibbons, TriQuarterly
About the Author
Norman Manea is Francis Flournoy Professor of European Culture and writer-in-residence at Bard College. A novelist and essayist, he first published in Communist Romania in the 1960s, producing a string of socially critical works that led to his expulsion in 1986. His work has been translated into more than twenty languages, and he has received many important cultural and literary prizes, including the MacArthur Fellowship (U.S.), the Nonino Prize (Italy), and the Légion d'honneur (France). The author lives in New York City.