Compulsory Happiness (The Margellos World Republic of by Norman Manea

By Norman Manea

In cool, unique prose, and with an unerring experience of the absurd, the 4 novellas of Compulsory Happiness create an image of daily life in a gruesome police kingdom, expressing terror and desire, worry and harmony, the funny triviality of the normal, and the painful look for an ideal.

"Norman Manea's 4 novellas, written in the course of the later Ceausescu years, provide a similar distinction to different japanese eu dissident writing. rather than the lively irony, the ebullient absurdism, the sharp-eyed wit, we discover a dreamy disconnection, a voice that surprise has decreased, an air of sweetness pushed mad."—Richard Eder, Los Angeles Times

"Mr. Manea's voice is appreciably new, and we're blessedly woke up and alerted by means of the call for his fiction makes on our understanding."—Lore Segal, New York instances publication Review

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Additional resources for Compulsory Happiness (The Margellos World Republic of Letters)

Sample text

He falls silent. ” David asks in his sleep. Abahn does not answer him. ” David cries out. “He said, ‘I didn’t understand what the Jew meant,’” continues Abahn. David does not cry out anymore. He has been conquered. Slumber won, his head sags to the side. ’” Abahn tries to reach David faster than sleep. ’” “Sabana,” murmurs David. ” 44 Abahn Sabana David He struggles against sleep. His eyelids flutter. “‘And Sabana told me: Don’t worry. David, you will have the dogs of the Jew. ” Sabana still looks out at the darkened park.

Spreads to the chink in the wall of slumber, a dull stone, a clamor, brief and strange. David has cried out. Having cried out, David thrashes in sleep, he lifts his head, his eyes open, he sees nothing, his head falls back, he speaks: “Leave me alone,” he begs. ” Silence. Abahn rises. He turns to face the dark road, his back turned to them. ” 38 Abahn Sabana David The Jew • walks away from Sabana and David. He once more resumes his pacing through the house. The wide stride of the Jew appears and disappears from the gaze of Sabana and Abahn.

She listens intently in the direction of the pathway outside. The Jews are not paying attention. 56 Abahn Sabana David “He’s looking at you,” she says. She is listening with her eyes closed. ” She listens again in the direction of the road. The Jews are not paying attention. “He was alone. ” Silence anew. “Maybe it was someone else,” says Abahn. ” “In Staadt,” Sabana says, “we recognize every sound. Even Gringo walking past. ” asks Abahn. The Jew takes some time to respond. ” They are silent, the three of them, standing apart from one another, unmoving.

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