cover image Anathemas and Admirations

Anathemas and Admirations

E. M. Cioran. Arcade Publishing, $22.95 (256pp) ISBN 978-1-55970-128-0

Cioran's absolute, dark pessimism is, paradoxically, invigorating, even inspirational. Readers who have yet to encounter the Romanian-born thinker (author of The Trouble with Being Born , etc.), who lives in France, will find in these aphorisms and essays one of the century's most fertile, profound minds. Decision-maker in an existential void, master of the stunning bleak aphorism (e.g., ``To have accomplished nothing and to die overworked''), Cioran meditates ruefully on modern cities, insomnia, music as an illusion, friendship, neighbors, the ``age-old slavery'' of women and the possible disappearance of our species. Clusters of fragmentary thoughts and impressions alternate with terse essays on such figures as Mircea Eliade, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Joseph de Maistre, Henri Michaux, Paul Valery and Borges. Like his friend and fellow exile Beckett, Cioran ``lives not in time but parallel to it,'' a detachment transformed into wisdom in this meditative maelstrom. (May)