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Ruxandra Cesereanu

Self-portrait

I don’t have a schedule for writing. I write poetry when I have the feeling that if I don’t write it, something bad will happen to me. I write poetry almost in a trance. Prose, on the other hand, is like an edifice with well-polished bones and large windows, with big doors and rooms ditto, and full of narrative. It’s always about the pleasure

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Biography

Ruxandra Cesereanu (b. 1963). She was a student at the Faculty of Letters, Cluj, graduating in 1985. While at university, she trained as an editor with Echinox magazine. Since 1991, she has been an editor for the Steaua cultural review in Cluj. In 1997, she was awarded her PhD, for a thesis on The Hell of the Prison Camps as reflected in the Romanian Awareness. She is currently a...

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Excerpt from

Novel, Fiction Ltd, Polirom, 2013, 240 pages

Copyright: Polirom

Translation rights sold to: All rights available

Book presentation

The novel One Sky Above Them is a fresco of the changes that took place in Romania from the “obsessive decade” (the Stalinist 1950s) to the aftermath of the 1989 revolution, in which the minor histories of people allied to the communist regime or at odds with it are incorporated within and give shape to the wider historical period. Resistance fighters in the mountains, deportees, political prisoners, regime opponents, dissidents, border escapees, and revolutionaries, but also the Securitate, political leaders, torturers, informants and many others, victims and oppressors alike, all live under the same sky between 1945 and 1991, the chronological boundaries of this epic tapestry on which the author worked for a decade. Ruxandra Cesereanu offers us narratives of lives and deaths dictated by a violent collective history, which can be likened to the world depicted by Varlam Shalamov in Kolyma Tales

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Excerpt from

Critics about

novel, "Prose" series, Cartea Romaneasca;, 2007, 264 pages

Copyright: Polirom

Translation rights sold to: All rights available

Book presentation

This is a spectacular volume of experimental prose, entirely consecrated to love or, more generally, the mysterious relationships between women and men. The erotic fantasy in the book is matchless, but is nonetheless akin to that of the author’s previous novel, Tricephalos. Taboos are attacked one by one, in order to undertake a detailed investigation of the psychology of intimacy. It is a book that is principally about men, within an explosive kaleidoscope achieved by a ludic, sensual and expressive feminine sensibility.
The Birth of Liquid Desires is one of Ruxandra Cesereanu’s best volumes of prose to date: it has the most meticulously supervised construction (with symmetries and correspondences between the component passages of prose); it enjoys thematic coherence and engages in a deep sounding of interior landscapes.
The volume opens with a text (The Birth of Liquid Desires) that takes passionate love as its theme, as experienced in absence or unrequitedness. Employing the epistolary convention, the tale provides a highly nuanced rendering of the experiences of hopeless love, capturing a divers range of mental states (from enthusiasm to repulsion, from fascination to hatred). The following prose piece, entitled The Touch, attempts to navigate to the centre of erotic fantasy, along a nightmarish and convoluted course. The third text, The Pearl and Other Snail’s Horns, is, in fact, a long and dense prose poem, on the theme of another incompatibility that love attempts to surmount: incest. However, it is not the taboo that is crucial here, but rather the pretext to investigate (in the form of a confession) the most obscure limits of desire and intimacy.
The second part of the book, Post-males, unfolds a kaleidoscope of masculine images, as they are retained by a capricious, ludic, sensual and – most importantly – expressive feminine memory. The one hundred and seven portraits of men are just as many masculine characters, moralities, and physiognomies, treated with lucidity and precision.
Finally, after an autobiographical and self-ironic postscript, there is a pseudo-questionnaire, containing questions addressed both to women – What is a man? – and to men – What does it mean to be a man? Constructed with much imagination, the answers manage to create a new and piquant gallery of masculine portraits, from the perspective of both camps.

 

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