In this unique, panoramic account of faded dreams, journalist John Feffer returns to Eastern Europe a quarter of a century after the fall of communism, to track down hundreds of people he spoke to in the initial atmosphere of optimism as the Iron Curtain fell – from politicians and scholars to trade unionists and grass roots activists.What he discovers makes for fascinating, if sometimes disturbing, reading. From the Polish scholar who left academia to become head of personnel at Ikea to the Hun..
On the day that Paris fell to the Nazis, R. G. Waldeck was checking into the swankiest hotel in Bucharest, the Athene Palace. A cosmopolitan center during the war, the hotel was populated by Italian and German oilmen hoping to secure new business opportunities in Romania, international spies cloaked in fake identities, and Nazi officers whom Waldeck discovered to be intelligent but utterly bloodless. A German Jew and a reporter for Newsweek, Waldeck became a close observer of the Nazi invasion. ..
FROM THE INTERNATIONALLY BESTSELLING AUTHOR OF THE BOOK OF MIRRORS
You can't trust your own memories.
You can't trust other people's.
So how do you know what really happened that night?
One rainy night in New York, psychologist James Cobb gives a talk on the art of recovering lost memories. Afterwards, he's approached by a stranger: a dying man who, forty years ago, woke up in a hotel room with a murdered woman, and no memory at all of what happened. Now, he needs to know whether he was an inn..
Winner of the Edward Stanford Travel Food & Drink Book of the YearWinner of the John Avery Award at the André Simon Food and Drink book awards 'The next best thing to actually travelling with Caroline Eden a warm, erudite and greedy guide is to read her. This is my kind of book.' Diana Henry'A wonderfully inspiring book about a magical part of the world' Viv Groskop, author of The Anna Karenina Fix'Part travelogue, part recipe book, this is a love letter to the sea that welcomes strangers , ..
Winner of the 2013 Swiss Leuk Spycher Preis and the Serbian Grand Prize for International Poetry in Novi Sad
Part visceral dream-memoir, part fictive journey through a hallucinatory Bucharest, Mircea Cărtărescu's Blinding was one of the most widely heralded literary sensations in contemporary Romania, and a bestseller from the day of its release. Riddled with hidden passageways, mesmerizing tapestries, and whispering butterflies,Blindingtakes us on a mystical trip into the protagonist's ..
There was life before the fall.1989 was a year of astonishing and rapid change: the fall of the Berlin Wall marked the collapse of communism in Eastern Europe and an end to an entire way of life for millions of people behind the Iron Curtain. Bloc Life collects first hand testimony of the people who lived in East Germany, Czechoslovakia and Romania during the Cold War era, and reveals a rich tapestry of experience that goes beyond the headlines of spies and surveillance, secret police and politi..
Drawing on a Gramscian theoretical perspective and developing a systematic comparative approach, The Civic Foundations of Fascism in Europe challenges the received Tocquevillian consensus on authoritarianism by arguing that fascist regimes, just like mass democracies, depended on well-organised, rather than weak and atomised, civil societies. In making this argument the book focuses on three crucial cases of interwar authoritarianism: Italy, Spain and Romania, selected because they are all count..
In cool, precise prose, and with an unerring sense of the absurd, the four novellas of Compulsory Happiness create a picture of everyday life in a grotesque police state, expressing terror and hope, fear and solidarity, the humorous triviality of the ordinary, and the painful search for an ideal. "Norman Manea's four novellas, written during the later Ceausescu years, offer a comparable contrast to other Eastern European dissident writing. Instead of the energetic irony, the ebullient absur..
Acknowledged as one of the major sculptors and avant-garde artists of the twentieth century, Constantin Brancusi (1876-1957) also remained one of the most elusive. His mysterious nature was not only due to his upbringing in Romania - which, at the time, was still regarded by much of Europe as a backward country haunted by vampires and werewolves - but also because Brancusi was aware that myth and an 'aura of otherness' appealed to the public. This self-mythology is embodied in his white atelier ..
Crossing the Carpathians is a collection of poems about exile, family, and the survival of love. Carmen Bugan was born in Romania, and her book has its origins in her experiences during the 1980s, as a child of political dissidents and as an exile from her country. Written in America, Ireland, and England, her poems are about crossing countries and languages, recording loss and celebration, reconciling memories with dreams.
To say these poems are beautiful is to risk underselling them. It is t..
The short-sighted adolescent is a passionate reader who takes various cultural figures as models, trying to emulate both their lives or their works. The pupil protagonist is a poor student, who likes science and reads a lot of books, sometimes staying up all night to do so. At the age of 17, he decides to write a novel to demonstrate to his teachers that he is not as mediocre as his other classmates, and that he is prepared to give up everything he holds dear in order to do so. The novel is writ..
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..
During the First World War, just behind the eastern front, there was a forest, where Austrians and Hungarians used to hang deserters. To this place came Apostol Bologa, a young Romanian officer eager to serve his country. Born in a Romanian region of Transylvania which was then under Hungarian rule, he had naturally enough joined the Austro-Hungarian army. But soon Romania itself entered the war, and Bologa found himself fighting his own people. The Forest of the Hanged asks a fundamental questi..
The figure of the gypsy is simultaneously vilified and romanticized. Gypsies have for centuries been associated with criminality and dirt, but also with colour, magic and music. Gypsy music is popular around the world, and is performed at occasions that include weddings in Bulgaria, jazz shows in Paris and festivals in the USA. Performers like Taraf de Haidouks and the Boban Markovic Orkestar remain popular for their more traditional sounds, while groups such as Gogol Bordello have gained new au..
Awarded Prix Médicis Etranger 2006 - Prix MédicisRomanian exile Norman Manea's internationally acclaimed memoir/novel, now available to English-language readers At the center of The Hooligan's Return is the author himself, always an outcast, on a bleak lifelong journey through Nazism and communism to exile in America. But while Norman Manea's book is in many ways a memoir, it is also a deeply imaginative work, traversing time and place, life and literature, dream and reality, past and present. A..
Mihail Sebastian was a promising young Jewish writer in pre-war Bucharest, a novelist, playwright, poet and journalist who counted among his friends the leading intellectuals and social luminaries of a sophisticated Eastern European culture. Because of Romania's opportunistic treatment of Jews, he survived the war and the Holocaust, only to be killed in a road accident early in 1945. His remarkable diary was published only recently in its original language and is here translated into English for..
'A classic of documentary photography … an extraordinary testament to Koudelka's keen eye and darkly romantic imagination' ObserverGypsies is based on the original maquette for Josef Koudelka’s book Cikáni (Czech for Gypsies), prepared by Koudelka and graphic designer Milan Kopriva in 1968, and intended for publication in Prague in 1970. However, Koudelka left Czechoslovakia in 1970, and the book was never published in that original form.Now available in an affordable compact edition, the book h..
Now available for the first time in English, Manea's acclaimed novel of emigres in America, free yet imprisoned by the past 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,..
"In the craven world of architectural criticism Hatherley is that rarest of things: a brave, incisive, elegant and erudite writer, whose books dissect the contemporary built environment to reveal the political fantasies and social realities it embodies." (Will Self).
During the course of the twentieth century, communism took power in Eastern Europe and remade the city in its own image. Ransacking the urban planning of the grand imperial past, it set out to transform everyday life, its sweepin..
WINNER OF WALES BOOK OF THE YEAR PRIZE 2012 WINNER OF THE 2012 WRITERS GUILD AWARD FOR 'BEST FICTION BOOK' LONG-LISTED FOR THE MAN BOOKER PRIZE 2011 SHORT-LISTED FOR THE 2011 COSTA FIRST NOVEL AWARD SHORT-LISTED FOR THE DESMOND ELLIOT PRIZE 2012 SHORT-LISTED FOR THE AUTHORS CLUB BEST FIRST NOVEL AWARD 2012 Set during Ceausescu's last hundred days in power, Patrick McGuinness's accomplished debut novel explores a world of danger, repression and corruption.When our narrator, a young English stud..
A young man is found lying unconscious on the outskirts of Bucharest. No one knows who he is and everyone has a different theory about how he got there. The stories of the various characters unfold, each closely interwoven with the next, and outlining the features of what ultimately turns out to be the most important and most powerful character of all: the city of Bucharest itself.
The novel covers the last 13 days of 1897 and culminates in a beautiful tableau of the future as imagined by the..
By the mid-1930s, Emil Cioran was already known as a leader of a new generation of politically committed Romanian intellectuals. Researching another, more radical book, Cioran was spending hours in a library poring over the lives of saints. As a modern hagiographer, Cioran "dreamt" himself "the chronicler of these saints' falls between heaven and earth, the intimate knower of the ardors in their hearts, the historian of God's insomniacs." Inspired by Nietzsche's Beyond Good and Evil, Cioran "sea..
Bruckstein's two novellas, published for the first time in English, offer a fascinating depiction of rural life in the Carpathians around the time of the Second World War, tracing the chilling descent into disorder and fear of two cosmopolitan communities that had hitherto appeared to be havens of religious and racial acceptance, but which were in fact constructed on foundations of prejudice and discrimination. Bruckstein presents the effects of the Holocaust not only on the Jewish community, bu..
In this engrossing book, Paul Barber surveys centuries of folklore about vampires and offers the first scientific explanation for the origins of the vampire legends. From the tale of a sixteenth-century shoemaker from Breslau whose ghost terrorized everyone in the city, to the testimony of a doctor who presided over the exhumation and dissection of a graveyard full of Serbian vampires, his book is fascinating reading.'This study's comprehensiveness and the author's bone-dry wit make this compell..
DRACULA. A name of horror, depravity and the darkest sensuality.
Yet the real Dracula was just as alluring, just as terrifying, his story not of a monster but of a man - and a contradiction. For the one they called 'The Devil's Son' was both tyrant and lawgiver, crusader and mass slaughterer, torturer and hero, lover and murderer.
His tale is told by those who knew him best. The only woman he ever loved, who he must sacrifice. His closest comrade and traitor. And his priest, betraying the se..
Stefan Valeriu, a young man from Romania who has just completed his medical studies in Paris, spends his vacation in the Alps, where he quickly becomes entangled with three different women. We follow Stefan after his return to Paris as he reflects on the women in his life, at times playing the lover, and at others observing shrewdly from the periphery. Women's four interlinked stories offer moving, strikingly modern portraits of romantic relationships in all their complexity, from unrequited lov..
A Short History of Decay (1949) is E. M. Cioran's nihilistic and witty collection of aphoristic essays concerning the nature of civilization in mid-twentieth-century Europe. Touching upon Man's need to worship, the feebleness of God, the downfall of the Ancient Greeks and the melancholy baseness of all existence, Cioran's pieces are pessimistic in the extreme, but also display a beautiful certainty that renders them delicate, vivid, and memorable. Illuminating and brutally honest, A Short Histor..
I've been summoned, Thursday, ten sharp.' So begins one day in the life of a young clothing-factory worker during Ceausescu's totalitarian regime. She has been questioned before, but this time she knows it will be worse. Her crime? Sewing notes into the linings of men's suits bound for Italy. 'Marry me', the notes say, with her name and address. Anything to get out of the country.
As she rides the tram to her interrogation, her thoughts stray to her friend Lilli, shot while trying to flee to ..
For the past 50 years, Mircea Dinescu has been one of Romanian poetry's most provocative and obstinately singular poets. After starting out as a writer of highly musical poetry that he spun round in his fingers with the aplomb of a magician who refuted reality, he ended up stuck in free verse, impelled mainly because of the surrealism of a world in which the label and the content of any box seldom matched.
After his first gratuitous exercises when he was 22 and striving to commit himself to l..
This collection brings together the four plays that feature Ionesco's everyman protagonist Jean Bérenger. In The Killer, he comes across a radiant city , an ideal civilization which is being terrorized by a killer, whom he tries to help apprehend. In Rhinoceros, he is the only person in a provincial town who is not affected by a condition that turns its victims into the eponymous horned beast. In Exit the King, he is the powerful King Bérenger the First, who refuses to accept that he is dying. A..
Black Sea is a homage to an ocean and its shores and a meditation on Eurasian history, from the earliest times to the present. It explores the culture, history and politics of the volatile region which surrounds the Black Sea.
Ascherson recalls the world of Herodotus and Aeschylus; Ovid's place of exile on what is now the coast of Romania; the decline and fall of Byzantium; the mysterious Christian Goths; the Tatar Khanates; the growth of Russian power across the grasslands, and the centuries..
The Danube is Europe's Amazon. It flows through more countries than any other river on Earth - from the Black Forest in Germany to Europe's farthest fringes, where it joins the Black Sea in Romania. Andrew Eames' journey along its length brings us face to face with the Continent's bloodiest history and its most pressing issues of race and identity.
As he travels - by bicycle, horse, boat and on foot - Eames finds himself seeking a bed for the night with minor royalty, hitching a ride on a Ser..
“At a time when we are all forced to stay at home, travelling in the kitchen can be a great comfort. And I have been so grateful for Irina Georgescu for taking me to Romania through the pages of her wonderful book, Carpathia. Every page is imbued with generosity, the spirit of community, and the flavours of a rich and varied culture: it makes for an uplifting, inspiring and gorgeously transporting read right now.” Nigella Lawson
Carpathia invites you to explore Romania’s unique, bold and delici..
Back from the dead: the first ever zombie story
Before there was Dracula, there was The Castle in Transylvania. In its first new translation in over 100 years, this is the first book to set a gothic horror story, featuring people who may or may not be dead, in Transylvania.
In a remote village cut off from the outside world by the dark mountains of Transylvania, the townspeople have come to suspect that supernatural forces must be responsible for the menacing apparitions emanating from the..
Romania's comic genius Marin Sorescu was so popular during the worst of the Ceausescu years that his readings had to be held in football stadiums, and his books sold hundreds of thousands of copies. While his witty, ironic parables were not directly critical of the régime, Romanians used to a culture of double-speak could read other meanings in his playful mockery of the human condition.
All this time, however, he was also writing the secret poems he did not dare publish then because - as Dan..
Almost two decades have passed since the collapse of communism in Eastern Europe and the USSR. Robert Service, one of our finest historians of modern Russia, sets out to examine the history of communism throughout the world. His uncomfortable conclusion - and an important message for the twenty-first century – is that although communism in its original form is now dead or dying, the poverty and injustice that enabled its rise are still dangerously alive. Unsettling, compellingly written and bril..
In this fascinating journey Claudio Magris, whose knowledge is encyclopaedic and whose curiosity limitless, guides his reader from the source of the Danube in the Bavarian hills through Austro-Hungary and the Balkans to the Black Sea. Along the way he raises the ghosts that inhabit the houses and monuments - from Ovid to Kafka and Canetti - and in so doing sets his finger on the pulse of Central Europe, the vital crucible of a culture that draws on influences of East and West, of Christendom and..
Paler wrote a number of poetry collections during his lifetime. The poems, which appear as definitions , are rather like Haiku in their intensity and succinctness: condensed descriptions of a feeling or a moment, they offer us an open door into the larger world of internal reflection. Dosage: read one a day before meals or lingering over coffee..
“Laugh-out loud funny and a great travel guide.” *Romania Insider Awards FinalistHave you ever thought about giving up work to escape into the wide, blue yonder?Jackie and Mark Lambert did just that. They rented out their house and took off in a caravan with their four dogs. With windsurf boards strapped to their roof, they struck south for Spain and Portugal, but decided to turn left…According to The Spectator, Romania is “Europe’s most overlooked holiday destination”.According to everyone else..
thin the pages of this book can be found one of the most terrifying creatures in all of literature.
WITH AN INTRODUCTION BY JOSEPH O'CONNOR
Rediscover a dread of Dracula in this beautifully designed new Vintage Classics edition
This classic of horror writing is composed of diary entries, letters and newspaper clippings that piece together the depraved story of the ultimate predator. A young lawyer on an assignment fi..
Fresh from their victory in Germania, Marcus Aquila and the Tungrians have been sent to Dacia, on the north-eastern edge of the Roman Empire, with the mission to safeguard a major source of imperial power. The mines of Alburnus Major contain enough gold to pave the road to Rome. They would make a mighty prize for the marauding Sarmatae tribesmen who threaten the province, and the outnumbered auxiliaries are entrusted with their safety in the face of a barbarian invasion. Beset by both the Sarmat..
Transporting stories of intrigue, superstition and rivalry from a European master, in English for the first time
In this stark, haunting collection, Miklós Bánffy narrates with wry wisdom stories of cunning, betrayal and myth ranging from classical antiquity to the Transylvania of his own day. These are communities of sharp rivalries and religious superstition: young Borbálka, about to marry an unsuitable man, receives strange counsel from a suspicious figure in her village; four men seek to ex..
The Cold War had seemed like a permanent fixture in global politics, and until its denouement, no Western or Soviet politician foresaw that the stand-off between the two superpowers - after decades of struggle over every aspect of security, politics, economics and ideas - would end in their lifetimes. Even after March 1985 when Mikhail Gorbachëv became the leader of the Soviet Union it was not preordained that global nuclear Armageddon could or would be averted peaceably.
But just four years ..
A prescient interwar masterpiece, available in English for the first time
'Absolutely, definitively alone', a young Jewish student in Romania tries to make sense of a world that has decided he doesn't belong. Spending his days walking the streets and his nights drinking and gambling, meeting revolutionaries, zealots, lovers and libertines, he adjusts his eyes to the darkness that falls over Europe, and threatens to destroy him.
Mihail Sebastian's 1934 novel was written amid the anti-Semiti..
Romania, the last months of the dictator's regime. Adina is a young schoolteacher. Paul is a musician. Clara, Adina's friend, works in a wire factory. Pavel is Clara's lover. But one of them works for the secret police and is reporting on the group.
One day Adina returns home to discover that her fox fur rug has had its tail cut off. On another day, a hindleg. Then a foreleg. The mutilation is a sign that she is being tracked - the fox was ever the hunter.
Images of photographic precision ..
Gaudeamus (Let us Rejoice) is the second autobiographical novel written by the author about his university years, and follows on from his Dairy of a Short-Sighted Adolescent, described by Nicolas Lezard in the Guardian as 'Romania's Adrian Mole'.
In this exuberant and touching portrait of youth, Eliade recounts the fictional version of his university years in late 1920's Bucharest. Marked by a burgeoning desire to 'suck out all the marrow of life', the protagonist throws himself into his stud..
'I know you'll return'. These are his grandmother's last words to him. He has them in his head as he boards the truck at 3am on a freezing mid-January morning in 1945. They keep him company during the long journey to Russia. They keep him alive - through hunger, pain, and despair - during his time in the brutal Soviet labour camps. And, eventually, they bring him back home. But when he does return, he finds that an embarrassed, traumatised silence hangs over his harrowing experiences. Even with ..
From the New York Times bestselling author Robert D. Kaplan, named one of the world’s Top 100 Global Thinkers by Foreign Policy magazine, comes a riveting journey through one of Europe’s frontier countries—and a potent examination of the forces that will determine Europe’s fate in the postmodern age.
Robert Kaplan first visited Romania in the 1970s, when he was a young journalist and the country was a bleak Communist backwater. It was one of the darkest corners of Europe, but few Westerners w..
Geert Mak spent the year 1999 criss-crossing the continent, tracing the history of Europe from Verdun to Berlin, St Petersburg to Auschwitz, Kiev to Srebrenica. He set off in search of evidence and witnesses, looking to define the condition of Europe at the verge of a new millennium. The result is mesmerising: Mak's rare double talent as a sharp-eyed journalist and a hugely imaginative historian makes In Europe a dazzling account of that journey, full of diaries, newspaper reports and memoirs, a..
At the end of the Second World War, the Soviet Union unexpectedly found itself in control of a huge swathe of territory in Eastern Europe. Stalin and his secret police set out to convert a dozen radically different countries to a completely new political and moral system: communism. In Iron Curtain, Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Anne Applebaum describes how the Communist regimes of Eastern Europe were created and what daily life was like once they were complete.
Set in Romania at the height of Ceausescu's reign of terror, "The Land of Green Plums" tells the story of a group of young students, each of whom has left the impoverished provinces in search of better prospects in the city. It is a profound illustration of a totalitarian state which comes to inhabit every aspect of life; to the extent that everyone, event the strongest, must either bend to the oppressors, or resist them and perish...