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Ion Vianu

Biography

Ion Vianu (b. 1934) was born in Bucharest in 1934. A psychiatrist by training, he emigrated to Switzerland in 1977, after having publicly declared his opposition to the Romanian communist regime. In exile he wrote political articles and since 1989 he has written essays novels and memoirs, as a witness of the twentieth century. Polirom has published his Memories in Dialogue (co author : Matei Calinescu, 1998, republished 2005), Curse and Blessing (2007), Matei esque Investigations (2008), Exercise in Sincerity (2009), Amor Intellectualis: Novel of an Education (2010, 2011), Proximities (2011), Beauty will Redeem the World and Other Essays...

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Excerpt from

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Novel, Fiction LTD series, Polirom, 2016, 560 pages

Copyright: Polirom

Translation rights sold to: All rights available

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Puiu Ozias, a man who has reached the age of one hundred, is an archival goldmine. Imparting events of historical interest, with a mixture of cynicism and suavity the old man relives events from his life : love destroyed by cowardice, loyalty and friendship eaten away by betrayal, acts of heroism sabotaged by power plays. Then there is Vladimir Vasiliu, a psychiatrist and director of the Rastoaca Melcilor Mental Hospital during the communist period, who is at odds with one of his patients : Laban, the uncrowned king of the asylum, a man both admired and feared. Laban, who also had a tragic part to play in the life of Puiu Ozias, is the link between the two worlds inside and outside the asylum. He is the psychiatrist’s friend and enemy at the same time. The interweaving tales of Ozias and Vasiliu form a disturbing “archive of betrayal and rage.” Their individual stories are drawn into a deadly dance with History.

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Excerpt from

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Novel, "Fiction Ltd." series, Polirom, 2010, 408 pages

Copyright: Polirom

Translation rights sold to: All rights available

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“THE NOVEL OF AN EDUCATION,” as the author subtitles it, Amor Intellectualis recounts the story of a sentimental and intellectual upbringing against the backdrop of a turbulent period in history: the communist seizure of power in Romania and the years in which the regime entrenched itself. The adolescence of the hero, with its erotic initiations, intellectual explorations, and conflicts between body and soul, is an occasion for pages that are as piquant as they are picturesque, and all the more convincing for their frankness. Likewise the gallery of character portraits: friends, and also disciples and close associates of the Great T. (the author’s father: philosopher, poet and critic Tudor Vianu), bound to him by the ties of an amor intellectualis magistri. Gradually, the personal history fades into the background, as the tragic story of the disappearance of a world and a generation looms ever larger...

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Excerpt from

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Novel, "Prose" collection, Cartea Romānească, 2008, 160 pages, format 130 x 200 mm

Copyright: Polirom

Translation rights sold to: All rights available

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In a small town in western Europe, two men, Daniel and Joseph, become good friends, after discovering a shared passion for making female conquests.
His pointless visits to an ungifted, indifferent and vulgar psychoanalyst bring Joseph face to face with Daniel.
The stories begin to flow, rather like in the 1001 Nights. Ladies with “veils and silks” ; Hélène, the former prostitute ; Fatima, the mysterious Maroccan ; and the beautiful, elegant and liberated Ingeborg are just some of the episodic female characters, partners in erotic adventures, who fall prey to the insatiable libertine desire for sexual conquest shared by the two Don Juans.
After an ad-hoc transformation into a psychotherapist, Daniel listens to Joseph’s stories and begins to recognise himself in them – a declared “proletarian” of sex, a cynical hunter of orgasms. Through a symbolic trick of mirrors, the actions of the two characters seem to reflect each other, creating the impression of a “double” who rests under the sign of multiple deaths foretold and of surprising reversals of situation.
Joseph accepts himself and is accepted by others as “the unbeliever” until the moment when a beautiful Muslim woman asks him to renounce his Christian faith in order for them to be together. And he accepts… The unscrupulous individual, the convinced atheist, who is even hostile to the Church, cannot, however, bear the shame of his betrayal of Christ, and he comes to yearn for death. On looking in the mirror once more, Don Juan sees himself as Judas. This is the culminating moment of Joseph’s existence. But once saved, he will be transformed only in appearance, continuing to seek his own identity.
The encounter with Joseph forces Daniel to accept his own condition, that of a second-rate “unbeliever,” a lamentable conqueror, driven in all his amorous liaisons by a ferocious egotism.
Ion Vianu’s short novel plumbs the darkest reaches of the masculine Eros, in a West where psychoanalysis has come to be the sole religion, the confessional has been transformed into the couch, and the moral imperative is a febrile search for pleasure.

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