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'Nostalgia' is a novel by the Romanian writer Mircea Crtrescu.
First appearing in Romania under the name 'Visul' ("The Dream") in 1989 with Cartea Romneasca Publishing House, having been mangled by censors, it appeared in its full form as 'Nostalgia' in 1993 under Humanitas. It was thereafter translated into French, German, Hungarian, Spanish and other languages, and was nominated for literary prizes across Europe. In 2005, the novel was translated to English by Julian Semilian and published by New Directions.
The first section, which is itself the prologue describes the world of a pre-war Bucharest, as narrated by an aging, potentially dying, author while focusing on the improbable and explicitly impossible story of a homeless young man who serves as the stubborn center of progressively more absurd games of Russian Roulette which become progressively more peopled by the wealthy upper-crust of the capital.
The second section brings alive a universe of children through a magical realist writing style that focuses upon a prepubescent messiah who has begun to lose his magical powers while working wonders for his young followers. Which has a famous scene that makes the reader feel voyeur into the world of Proust when the main character falls into "unbearable nostalgia" by virtue of a bright pink lighter.
The third section is an exploration of the pinnacle of romantic love between two adolescents, culminating with them swapping souls after their first night together.
The final part of the main portion of this book is centered around Nana, a middle aged woman engaged in an affair with a college student, as well as her memories of being 12 years old, when she was visited by a mother and son pair of gigantic skeletons.
The last portion of this novel focuses on a man who becomes obsessed with his car horn, the repercussions of which spiral far beyond his control.
The last part of the central portion of the book
In the introduction to the New Directions edition of the English translation, Andrei Codrescu, writer, critic, and National Public Radio host, described the book as an introduction to "a writer who has always had a place reserved for him in a constellation that includes the Brothers Grimm, E. T. A. Hoffmann, Franz Kafka. Jorge Luis Borges, Bruno Schultz, Julio Cortzar, Gabriel Garca Mrquez, Milan Kundera, and Milorad Pavi, to mention just a few."
Laura Savu wrote about Crtrescu in 'World Literature Today': "His intellectual fervor, dazzling linguistic play, and visceral prose...often touch a cultural nerve."
* 1993 in literature
* Romanian literature
Category:Novels by Mircea Crtrescu
Category:Romanian magic realism novels
Category:20th-century Romanian novels
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