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Stefan Agopian

Biography

Stefan Agopian was born in 1947. His debut novel was The Day of Wrath (Cartea Romaneasca, 1979), which he followed with Velvet Taki (Cartea Romaneasca, 1981; Ararat, 1995; Gramar, 1999; Polirom, 2004, 2012); Tobit (Eminescu, 1983; Polirom, 2005; German translation, Kriterion, 1989; awarded the Prize for Prose of the Bucharest Association of Writers); The Textbook of Happenings (Cartea Romaneasca, 1984; Humanitas, 1993; Polirom, 2014; awarded the Prize of the Writers’ Union); Sara (Eminescu, 1987; Paideia, 1991; Polirom, 2006; awarded Amfiteatru magazine’s Prize for the Year’s Best Work of Fiction); Notes from Sodom (Eminescu, 1993); Republic on the Scaffold (Cartea Romaneasca, 2000; awarded the Prize of the Bucharest Association of Writers); Fric (Polirom, 2003; awarded...

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Excerpt from

Critics about

Novel, Fiction LTD series, Polirom, 2014, 152 pages

Copyright: Polirom

Translation rights sold to: All rights available

Book presentation

One of the classics of contemporary Romanian literature, The Textbook of Happenings impresses the public with every new edition, bringing its famous protagonists, Zadic the Armenian and Ioan the Geographer, to the attention of new generations of readers. Written with extraordinary humour, most obvious in the dialogues between the two central characters, the book also excels in its intertextuality and erudition, including at the philosophical level. In fact, the two protagonists lead the reader through a realm of fantasy, with tales that are bizarre, sometimes phantasmagor­ical, with strange creatures that meld with people from the immediate reality, creating a mixture of history and utopia, of the real and the fantastical. And the author’s style of writing, well known to Romanian readers, fully contributes to this melange, not letting you put the book down.

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Excerpt from

Critics about

Novel, "Fiction LTD" series, Polirom, 2004, 296 pages, format 130 x 200 mm

Copyright: Polirom

Translation rights sold to: All rights available

Book presentation

This novel brings to life the miracle-laden atmosphere of the Nineteenth Century, revolving around the history of a boyar family in southern Romania. In this milieu, angels and demons are to be encountered. The boyar Tache de Velvet, around whom events unfold, is the “element” that transports us back to a time when history blended with the fantastical. Throughout the narrative, the “classic” tale of a trio of unlikely heroes, namely the boyar Lapai and his brother, the Dwarf, who are, of course, joined by the central character, Tache de Velvet, intersects with a host of other colourful tales, which respect neither the rules of time nor space. Thus, the present becomes future and the future is transformed into past, allowing anything to become possible in the simultaneously historical and fictional space created by the author. The characters and, implicitly, the tone of the narrative are impregnated with languor. The boyar Lapai is a sluggish type, the sort of man who falls asleep while standing up and consequently does nothing but break the crockery. His brother, the Dwarf, is a thinker by definition, while Tache, reinventing his own past, gives the impression of a man undecided, whose choices are scarred with uncertainty. The novel weaves together a multitude of stories, while the main narrative thread gets into a knot and then snaps, only to tie itself together again at the very moment it seemed to have run out. Far from being just a literary experiment, the mad tale of Tache de Velvet, constructed with much humour and full of adventure, keeps you on the edge of your seat through the power with which it recreates history in combination with myths, legends and phantasmagoria.

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