The Fifth Impossibility

Essays on Exile and Language

Norman Manea

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May 29, 2012
368 pages, 5 x 7 3/4
ISBN: 9780300179958
PB-with Flaps

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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.

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.

 “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
The Lair

Norman Manea; Translated by Oana Sânziana Marian

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The Black Envelope

Norman Manea; Translated by Patrick Camiller

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Compulsory Happiness

Norman Manea; Translated by Linda Coverdale

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The Hooligan's Return
A Memoir

Norman Manea; Translated by Angela Jianu

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The Margellos World Republic of Letters
A Guide to Philosophy in Six Hours and Fifteen Minutes

Witold Gombrowicz; Translated by Benjamin Ivry

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Ferdydurke

Witold Gombrowicz; Translated by Danuta Borchardt; Foreword

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Diary

Witold Gombrowicz; Translated by Lillian Vallee

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Five Spice Street

Can Xue, Translated by Karen Gernant and Chen Zeping

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Exemplary Novels

Miguel de Cervantes; Translated from the Spanish by Edith G

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Songbook
The Selected Poems of Umberto Saba

Umberto Saba; Translated by George Hochfield and Leonard Na

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