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The Lair

The Lair

Copyright Date: 2012
Published by: Yale University Press
Pages: 256
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  • Book Info
    The Lair
    Book Description:

    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, ever-elusive quest for national and individual identity. Manea's characters seek a place and a voice in America, only to discover that the shackles of their native totalitarian and nationalist ideologies are impossible to break.

    Manea's themes and narrative approach are intricate: his style fluctuates in correspondence with the instability of his characters' lives, his story is encased within an elaborate network of allusions and paradoxes. Yet in the midst of the novel's overriding disorientation, the author establishes intersections and uncovers the universal. Through the predicaments of his perpetual outsiders, he offers a poignant assessment of the conflicts of the individual in the age of globalization. He writes with unmatched intensity and a unique sensitivity to the human tragicomedy.

    eISBN: 978-0-300-18346-7
    Subjects: Language & Literature

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-viii)
  3. Part I
    (pp. 1-78)

    A new morning, not yet opened. The long and powerful arm of a magician sets in motion the trick of the day. The yellow box stops at the curb’s edge.

    “Penn Station.”

    Above the steering wheel, the mug shot and name of the driver: Lev Boltanski.

    “Are you Russian?”

    “I was.”

    A hoarse voice. A wide face, small eyes.

    “Where from?”


    “I thought Odessa was in Ukraine.”

    “The Soviet Union! Like me, Odessa is from the Soviet Union. Few people know the difference between Russia and Ukraine. You’re not American.”

    “I am now. Just like you.”

    No, it’s not...

  4. Part II
    (pp. 79-220)

    The old trees, the uncertain sky of spring: Dr. Koch is there. The narrow waiting room, the diplomas arranged on the office walls, the doctor among them. In the park, a trio of black puppeteers juggling the strings of the marionettes in the bombardment of music. The doctor among them. The playground, the swimming pool. Alleys to the left and right. Passersby of all ages and races. Dr. Koch cloned in dozens of hurried impersonators.

    The kaleidoscope of the citadel and little Dr. Koch in the center.

    The vise was squeezing his forehead and temples. Two expired sedatives from the...

  5. Part III
    (pp. 221-290)

    Before disappearing, Peter had a last meeting, with Lyova Boltanski.

    Penn Station! He emerges from the crowd, his gaze up to the sky. The present! The pres-ent, the traveler was mumbling. The motto and prayer of his new life: the present!

    The yellow cab brakes at the curb’s edge. Lyova was waiting for him, just as they’d agreed.

    “Thank you, you’re a man of your word. The Soviet is a man of his word.”

    “The American is, too, if he’s paid well enough. You paid me well. Too well.”

    “Well, what do you think … I owed youNoblesse oblige,...

  6. Part IV
    (pp. 291-323)

    The taxi driver was no longer Boltanski, but a student from Senegal, in love with America and the vacations in his native country; the nurse was no longer the beautiful Polish woman, but an Indian auntie with glasses. Dr. Hostal was the same. Solid, taciturn, trustworthy.

    He’d appeared in the great operating room before and after the surgery, escorted by two young residents, taller than he is by a head. He’d been by three of the eight beds segregated with the floral curtains that rolled along the frames attached to the ceiling.

    “Today you are no longer the first one,...