The Lair by Norman Manea
(The Margellos World Republic of Letters)

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There are baffling or clunky sentences. I have no idea what it means to “tie the assassin to the coded games of fatality.”
-NY Times


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.


About Norman Manea

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Norman Manea is the author of, most recently, "The Black Envelope" and "Compulsory Happiness," He teaches at Bard College and lives with his wife in New York City. Lyonel Trouillot is a poet, novelist, and essayist of the post-Duvalierist generation of Haitian writers. Linda Coverdale is a Chevalier de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres and the award-winning translator of over fifty books, including Trouillot's "Street of Lost Footsteps "(PEN/Book-of-the-Month Club Translation Prize finalist) and Patrick Chamoiseau's "School Days" and "Chronicle of the Seven Sorrows," all available in Bison Books editions.
Published April 24, 2012 by Yale University Press. 332 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction. Fiction
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NY Times

Below average
Reviewed by Steven Heighton on Jun 08 2012

There are baffling or clunky sentences. I have no idea what it means to “tie the assassin to the coded games of fatality.”

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