The Lair

Norman Manea; Translated by Oana Sânziana Marian

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April 24, 2012
336 pages, 5 x 7 3/4
ISBN: 9780300179941
Cloth

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Norman Manea, Romania's most famous contemporary author, twice has survived the grip of totalitarian regimes. No stranger to exile, he mines its complexities and disorientations in this extraordinarily compelling novel, The Lair. Exile in the motherland and away from it is the shared plight of his protagonists. Nowhere at home, they move through their lives in a continuous, ever-elusive quest for national and individual identity. Manea's characters seek a place and a voice in America, only to discover that the shackles of their native totalitarian and nationalist ideologies are impossible to break.

Manea's themes and narrative approach are intricate: his style fluctuates in correspondence with the instability of his characters' lives, his story is encased within an elaborate network of allusions and paradoxes. Yet in the midst of the novel's overriding disorientation, the author establishes intersections and uncovers the universal. Through the predicaments of his perpetual outsiders, he offers a poignant assessment of the conflicts of the individual in the age of globalization. He writes with unmatched intensity and a unique sensitivity to the human tragicomedy.

Norman Manea is Francis Flournoy Professor of European Culture and writer-in-residence at Bard College. Deported from his native Romania to a Ukrainian concentration camp during World War Two, he was again forced to leave Romania in 1986, no longer safe under an intolerant Communist dictatorship. Since arriving in the West he has received many important awards, including, in 2016, Romania’s highest distinction, the the Presidential Order "The Romanian Star" in the highest level, of Great Officer. His work has been translated into more than twenty languages. He lives in New York City. Oana Sânziana Marian is a poet, translator, photographer, and filmmaker.

A New York Times Book Review “Editor’s Choice”

“Compelling”—Tess Lewis, Arts Fuse

"[An] acclaimed novel of love, isolation and the disorientation of being submerged in another culture."—Granta

"An intelligent, erudite, inexhaustible story-teller, in his essays as much as in his fiction, Norman Manea is above all a witness, someone who has lived to tell the tale. In [The Lair], as in all his work, we find the defining experiences of the twentieth century - the death camps, deportation, totalitarianism (both Fascism and Communism), marginalisation, deracination, exile, self-regeneration - filtered through the sensibility of one of its most astute survivors."—Costa Bradatan, The Times Literary Supplement

Longlisted by Three Percent for their 2013 Best Translated Book in Fiction.
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