Mircea Cărtărescu
Mircea Cărtărescu was born in Bucharest, Rumania, in 1956. His debut as a lyricist came as early as 1978, and he subsequently published a number of volumes of poetry, which made him into a leading figure of his generation. Towards the end of the eighties, he turned increasingly to prose, while retaining the poetic qualities of his lyric work. Thus the volumes of poetry "Fauri, vitrine, fotografii" (1980; Spotlights, Display Windows, Photos), "Poeme de amor" (1983; Love Poems) and "Totul" (1985; Everything) seem to be stages in preparation for the stories that he collected in the volume "Visul" (The Dream) shortly before radical political change in 1989. In 1993, he published this selection again – this time without censorship – under the title "Nostalgia". In the volume "Levantul" (The Levant), published in 1990, Cărtărescu adopted new approaches to language. Here, he combines types of text and patterns of genre with virtuosity and employs older Rumanian literature in an ironically playful way to hold up a distorting mirror to current conditions. The stage version has been performed with great success in Bucharest. The novel "Travesti" (1994) continued his poetic investigation into the youthfully-stimulated inner worlds that already formed the framework for "Nostalgia". At present, Cărtărescu is working on a trilogy of novels, the first part of which, "Orbitor. Aripa stângã" (1996; Deception. The Left Wing), was received with great enthusiasm by Rumanian readers. Cărtărescu has also been celebrated as a discovery abroad – up until now, his books have been translated into French, Spanish, German, Dutch and Hungarian. In January 1998, "Nostalgia" was selected as Book of the Month by the Darmstadt jury, and praised in the FAZ as a masterpiece of fantastic imagination. The "Presse", which appears in Vienna, wrote of Mircea Cãrtãrescu: "The author is simultaneously a member of an international avant-garde that has long been writing above and beyond national literatures, and the product of a national literature even less known to us than the other literatures of Eastern Europe. A considerable attraction ensues, which has nothing to do with folklore, however."