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The Hooligan's Return: A Memoir by Norman…

The Hooligan's Return: A Memoir

by Norman Manea

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Manea's memoir makes for very dense reading but is a fascinating account of a Jewish Romanian writer who survived his family's deportation during WWII to the concentration camps of Transnistria only to live through the Romania's Stalinist 1950s and the horrors of Nicolae Ceaușescu's totalitarian reign before eventually emigrating to the United States.

Despite the many hardships encountered in his home country, Manea's experience abroad has been one of an exile from his language. As Carla Baricz, explains in the LA Review of Books, "What makes The Hooligan’s Return such a unique and celebrated memoir is that it rejects its own form in a way that invokes the complexities of the genre. The book does not read like biography. The 'facts' act only as anchoring points to a larger theme: Manea’s relationship to his mother tongue, and the way a writer, especially one in exile, invents him/herself out of language. Indeed, the memoir is as much about the necessity and the cost of retelling personal narratives as it is about the past it evokes. The narrative structure of The Hooligan’s Return seeks various answers to this dilemma."

As such The Hooligan's Return is certainly an intellectual challenge. I am not very familiar with Romanian history and culture, but I could relate to many questions about who we are as individuals, what makes us who we are, and to what purpose. The Hooligan's Return is a harrowing but successful experiment in creative nonfiction. ( )
  mpho3 | Jan 28, 2015 |
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» Add other authors (2 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Norman Maneaprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Jianu, AngelaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0374529469, Paperback)

The Hooligan's Return is Norman Manea's long-awaited memoir, a portrait of an artist that ranges freely from his early childhood in prewar Romania to his return there in 1997.

In October l941, the entire Jewish population of Manea's native Bukovina was deported to concentration camps. Manea was among them, a child at the time, and his family spent four years there before they were able to return home. Embracing a Communist ethos as a teenager, he becomes disillusioned with the system in place in his country as he matures, having witnessed the growing injustices of dictatorship, and the false imprisonment of his father. But as a writer, Manea wrestles with the fear of losing his native language, his--real--homeland if he leaves his country, though it is clear to him that to stay under such a regime would be well-nigh impossible. Finally, in 1988, he settles in the United States, returning to Romania a decade later.

A harrowing memoir, The Hooligan's Return freely traverses time and place, life and literature, dream and reality, past and present. Beautifully written and brilliantly conceived, this is the story of a writer more interested in ethics and aesthetics than in politics, a literary man consumed by questions of solitude and solidarity.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:14:32 -0400)

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