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The Hooligan's Return


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About the Author

Norman Manea is Francis Flournoy Professor of European Culture and writer-in-residence at Bard College. Deported from his native Romania to a Ukrainian concentration camp during World War Two, he was again forced to leave Romania in 1986, no longer safe under an intolerant Communist dictatorship. Since arriving in the West he has received many important awards, including, in 2016, Romania's highest distinction, the the Presidential Order "The Romanian Star" in the highest level, of Great Officer. His work has been translated into more than twenty languages. He lives in New York City. Angela Jianu is a translator and historian. She teaches at University of Warwick, UK.


"An extraordinary book."-Larissa MacFarquhar, New Yorker

"This world of ours, in his view, is a place where the ridiculous reigns supreme over all human life and tortures everyone without respite, and therefore it cannot be ignored because it's not about to ignore any of us. . . . He has in mind all those, including himself, who were left to pay the fool in one of history's many traveling circuses."-Charles Simic, New York Review of Books

"The 'sad country, full of humour' that was, and still is, Romania has had no finer and percipient chronicler of its sorrows and absurdities. . . . He is one of an immensely humane and intelligent stature."-Paul Bailey, Times Literary Supplement

"A distinguished writer whose vision of totalitarianism is closer to Kafka's cloudy menace, universal, and yet internalized, than to Orwell's brass tacks. . . . The artistry of the implication, the intensity of what can seem a dream state, draws us imperceptibly through a half-lighted window for lack of the door."-Richard Eder, New York Times

"It is that kaleidoscopic excursion into recent and remote yesterdays that forms the bulk of The Hooligan's Return, peopled with many touching moments and characters. All is recounted with the caustic dexterity and lyrical power we would expect from the accomplished novelist who gave us Compulsory Happiness and The Black Envelope."-Ariel Dorfman, New York Times Book Review

"Norman Manea's The Hooligan's Return, translated by Angela Jianu, is the first British edition of this superb memoir by one of Romania's greatest writers, now living in the US. Manea manages to be down-to-earth and at the same time magical in summoning up the surreal realities of life under the fascists, first, and then the unspeakable Ceausesucs."-John Banville, New Statesman

Awarded Prix Medicis Etranger 2006

"I am profoundly grateful for this living, flesh-and-blood, yet unearthly memoir."-Cynthia Ozick

"A fascinating, beguiling record of the almost incredible events that can transpire in one life, especially if that life is lived in twentieth-century Eastern Europe. The Hooligan's Return operates on so many levels that finally it eludes all classifications and reveals itself as art."-Francine Prose

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