October Eight O'Clock: Stories

Norman Manea, Author Grove/Atlantic $18.95 (216p) ISBN 978-0-8021-1280-4
Survivor of a Nazi concentration camp in the Ukraine, Romanian-born Manea, now a literature professor at Bard College in upstate New York, writes with lyrical precision about the unspeakable traumas of the Holocaust and the suffocating postwar reality of life in a totalitarian society. His stories are alternately parables of biblical force, crystalline Kafkaesque nightmares and unforgettable fragments of memory. The tales of wartime evoke the survivor's excruciating guilt upon watching a loved one die, or they examine death itself, rehearsed a thousand times before it occurs. Standardized buildings, trivial values, a constant fear of one's neighbors, and partitioned lives mark postwar communism, the milieu of ``The Partition.'' In ``The Turning Point,'' a few sensitive souls form a secret group, their only aim being ``to learn to think again.'' Manea's shining characters walk with outward calm on the edge of an abyss in a world where the collapse of moral values is a given. (June)
Reviewed on: 02/03/1992
Release date: 02/01/1992
Paperback - 224 pages - 978-0-8021-3371-7
Hardcover - 216 pages - 978-0-08-021128-2
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