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Gabriela Adamesteanu

Self-portrait

They say that I have one of the finest "ears" in Romanian literature, because I have given a voice to each of my characters. I think that my "ear" came about because I lived in an isolated country, I wrote far from the literary world, and I never thought I would see my books in translation, no more than I thought of going to

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Biography

Gabriela Adamesteanu is one of Romania’s most prominent novelists and a significant voice in her country’s culture today. She is a bestselling author, and her prose has been reprinted many times, as well as translated into eight languages. In Romania, Adameşteanu’s fiction has won many national awards. Adameşteanu took a Degree in Literature at Bucharest...

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Excerpt from

Critics about

Novel, “Fiction Ltd.” series, Polirom, 2010, 448 pages

Copyright: Gabriela Adameşteanu

Translation rights sold to: All rights available

Book presentation

A LOVE STORY AND A BOOK about love, set against the backdrop of Romanian communism. “It’s not the future that brings us the biggest surprises, but the past which all our lives we never stop rereading.” This is the conclusion reached by Letitia Arcan, the main character in Gabriela Adameşteanu’s latest novel. Letitia Arcan will be familiar to readers of the novel The Even Course of Day to Day. For a long time, Letitia will know nothing about the life and death of the Branea brothers, her uncles, and her lover, Sorin, will be continually blackmailed with the story of his unknown natural parents. Responsible for the arduous reading of the past is the policy of family dossiers which, for forty years, governed the destinies of many people. In tracing the past, the narrative will swing from the 1970s back to the 1940s. The historical panels slide quickly past, projecting a feeling of provisionality and disquiet over the stories of love. Provisionality is a book about couples who, like history, find themselves under the sign of the transient, a book about love and trust, about friendship and betrayal. And, not least, it is a novel about the condition of being a writer.

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Novel, "Fiction Ltd" collection, Polirom, 2008 (5th revised edition), 360 pages, 130x200 mm

Copyright: Gabriela Adamesteanu

Translation rights sold to: Gallimard (France), Balkani (Bulgaria), Schoffling (Germany), Cavallo di Ferro (Italy)

Book presentation

The Identical Journey of Every Day (1975) brought the author the Debut Award of the Writers’ Union in Romania and the Romanian Academy Award.
The French edition, Vienne le jour (Gallimard, 2009), is nominated for Prix Jean Monnet de Litterature europeenne du Departement de la Charente (2010).


„The Identical Journey of Every Day is a strong, lively and timeless novel, whose only age is that of universal adolescence. The book is about a woman’s sentimental education, subtly echoing Flaubert, and, as such, it is unique in the Romanian literature. The story evolves in two environments: a provincial city and a university campus, at the beginning of the 1960s. Letitia Branea, a teenager, comes from a marginalised family. Her parents are separated, her father being in political prison, and the young girl lives with her mother and her mother’s brother, uncle Ion, a high­school teacher whose life is a series of renun­ciations, as in Checkov. The young girl’s obsession is to be different. Her coming of age is accelerated by her uncle’s unexpected death.” (Sanda Cordos)



“In The Identical Journey of Every Day, Gabriela Adamesteanu achieves an ironic prose of realist observation, of the kind illustrated by the English novel of the 1960s (Room at the Top, This Sporting Life), in which we discover the solitary hero of a humble or humiliated family, determined to break the mould and ultimately to obtain social retribution. The author’s artistic approach differs from that of the British ‘angry young men’ (John Braine, David Storey) inasmuch as it shuns engagement and pathos, maintaining a cunning balance, a moderately selfish, patient, and partially resigned expectation. The best pages result when the author pitilessly examines the wretchedness of youth, the gregarious embarrassment of a chaotic age.” (Norman Manea)

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Excerpt from

Critics about

novel, "Fiction Ltd" series, Polirom, 2007 (2nd revised edition), 320 pages, 130x200 mm

Copyright: Polirom

Translation rights sold to: Palamart (Hungary), Panorama (Bulgaria), Edizioni Nottetempo (Italy)

Book presentation

Harassed by train conductors who demand his ticket in several languages, a middle‑aged man endures a nightmare of hiding and flight, before managing to cross a frontier guarded by soldiers and dogs. He has returned to his native village. There he finds his whole family gathered around a big table, as though for a wedding, baptism or wake, but no one recognises him, not even his mother. The relatives take him for a lunatic on the run from an asylum, or for a Securitate informer, and chase him away.
Traian Manu, a renowned scientist in Italy, wakes up from this typical dream of exile in a car driven by his wife on the highway between Naples and Rome. In spite of his wife Christa’s opposition, Manu has agreed to visit his native country of Romania, at the insistence of a former colleague, Alexandru Stan, in spite of not having had any ties with the country since it became a Communist state. It is August 1986. Romania is still a Communist country, ruled by Nicolae Ceauşescu.
Of German origin, Christa understands Manu’s nostalgia but warns him of the dangers lurking in any totalitarian regime. To persuade him, she tells him stories from her own childhood and adolescence during the Nazi dictatorship, about growing up with the feeling of being permanently watched, about the humiliation of being part of a collective that glorifies a dictator, and about how she lost her family members one by one.
Manu’s trip to Romania is in fact the brainchild of collaboration between Alexandru Stan, a Romanian official, and the Securitate. The aim is for the communist regime to take advantage of Manu’s relations in the West. Manu is followed everywhere, his every move is recorded on tape and in reports by the spy team, which finally (and paradoxically) succeeds in making Manu trust only those people who are actually Securitate agents—to the exclusion of all the innocent people who had been waiting for him in good faith. All this evolves into a perverse plan to enlist the innocents as informers via a blackmail scheme. Among the innocents is Manu’s nephew, Daniel, who vainly hopes to be recognised as his uncle’s younger alter ego—a character important to the story on account of his incisive point of view.
The Securitate’s plan falls apart at the very moment when there is nothing left to oppose them. Safely back in his adopted country, exhausted by the trip and wracked by conflicting emotions, Manu suffers a heart attack in the car as his wife drives him home.

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novel, ”Fiction LDT” collection, Polirom Publishing House, 2004, 440 pages, 130x200 mm

Copyright: Gabriela Adamesteanu

Translation rights sold to: Gallimard/France, Europa/Hungary, Random House Mondadori/Spain, Nimrod Books/Israel, Balkani/Bulgaria, Northwestern U. P./USA, Dom Quixote/Portugal, Wydawnictwo W.A.B./Poland, Eesti Ramaat/Estonia, Yapi Kredi Kultur Sanat/Turkey

Book presentation

Wasted Morning was awarded a prize by the Romanian Writers’ Union and published in four editions (1984, 1992, 1998 and 2004). Given its public success, the book was the source of a memorable theatrical show as well, by stage director Cătălina Buzoianu at Bulandra Theatre in Bucharest (1987‑1990), which was subsequently broadcast on national television and the national public radio in Romania. After 1989 it was included in textbooks and curricula, it has been the subject of doctoral theses etc.

Éditions Gallimard published Wasted Morning (Matinée perdue), in 2005, which was welcomed by the critics in Le Monde des Lettres, Figaro Littéraire, L’Humanité Littéraire, Lire, and La Quinzaine Littéraire.

Wasted Morning was also published in Israel, Bulgaria, and Estonia, and it will be published in Hungary (Europa Publishing House) and Spain (Random House Mondadori) in 2009.

Wasted Morning is, doubtlessly, a painful symbol of a Romania sacrificed on the altar of two world wars and communism for one century. Although these sinister spectres obsess the author, she displays a sarabande of picturesque, highly vital style, in the oral style of Céline, re‑inventing the idiom of simple folk and discovering the poetry of the street, in a country where the wooden tongue had grown into a coffin of imagination : Vica, Gabriela Adameşteanu’s protagonist, is a free individual because she chats away like Céline’s character, Bardamu… She goes back to her adolescence, when her mother died and she had to raise her many siblings. Vica, the poor Cinderella who lost her way in a dependency of the Soviets, had to survive, with her legs planted on the stone of utter poverty. But this tireless gossiper knows how to listen to others too, so we have magnificent portraits of other characters such as Sophie Mironescu Ioaniu, depossessed by the communists, who gradually withers away in her apartment in Bucharest. Her daughter Ivona, a strange woman who roams around the city, her son‑in‑law Niki, who is always chasing after whores, her sister, Margot, shadowed by the Securitate... From one character to another, from WWI to Stalin’s time, from battlefield to prisons where political convicts are thrown to rot, history in a red and black cloak marches across this forever wasted morning. The novelist is not much more tender­‑hearted towards what she calls, with a degree of cruelty, national ‘vices.’” (Lire)

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