We are in the head of this asocial narrator barreling through his little world in Bucharest Romania from birth to early young manhood. Every now and then the author lets us know how old the narrator is at that moment, but this is a constantly changing, swirling through time. The narrator tells the story of his people, the Badislavs. Bear in mind, however, that its serious literary fiction. The narrator mentions the ovaries once in his agglomeration of the micro- and macroscopic, our galactic connections to our past and future selves, but usually its the gonads that prevail. But then, perhaps the author realized his nonsensical flights were beginning to tire his reader, we return to beautiful Bucharest. We meet Anca who like the narrator flashes through multiple times of life, multiple ages in a few pages of this kaleidoscopic story. Then shes caring for her grandchildren and meeting the young Mircea, the narrator, whose coming she dreamed offoretold?long ago. Its 1955 and we meet the 17-year-old Maria, Mirceas future mother in Bucharest where shes lived for about a year. Yet this dysfunctional place is the fabulist world of the novel. Then the bombing of Bucharest begins; its April 1944, and its as if the author now has two times unspooling simultaneously side by side yet utterly fluid and whole. As you can see, though, theres a lot to like about the novel. Im glad I read it, but for me it was 209 pages too long.
In the opening pages of Blinding: The Left Wing, Mircea Crtrescu proffers his intent in writing the mammoth, trilogy of which The Left Wing constitutes the first portion and which has been described by some as a dream-memoir or a poetic autobiography: But today, at the midpoint of my lifes arc, when I have read every book, even those tattooed on the moon and on my skin, even those written with the tip of a needle on the corners of my eyes, when I have seen enough and had enough, when I have systematically dismantled my five senses, when I have loved and hated, when I have raised immortal monuments in copper, when my ears have grown long awaiting tiny God, without understanding for a long time that I am just a mite burrowing my sewer pipes through his skin of old light, when angels have populated my head like spiro bacteria, when all the sweetness of the world has been consumed and when April and May and June are gonetoday, when my skin flakes beneath my ring like thousands of layers of onion paper, today, this vivacious and absurd today, I try to put my disorder into thought. Crtrescus first volume, built around childhood memories and family stories of his protagonist, Mircea, provides vivid descriptions of Bucharest, a beloved city that emerges from a surreal landscape, whose future is uncertain. The central theme that emerges out of this madness is connectionconnections between a dream Bucharest and a waking Bucharest, between Mircea and his mother, Maria, between his present and his familys past in the rural landscape of Romania, even between himself and a universe of other souls. Mircea feels a deep connection to Bucharest, one which he characterizes as physiological as well as spiritual: With its demented and chaotic traffic, its industrial platforms, where every piece of every machine was consumed long ago, both physically and morally, its universities and libraries where lichen blossomed in a thousand colors and species, its statues (ah, its statues!) that stop you cold, its Dâmbovia and Colentina like capillaries knitted from cholesterol, its central cubist apartment blocks crystallized around melancholy-saturated residents, its women with tattooed hips wandering the streets at random, shaded by flowering lindensthe city would become my own artificial body. The city Cartarescu imagines here is surreal, one in which Mircea imagines a line of crucified Christs strung on the powerlines, where statues come to life, where buildings take on the appearance of the body (in one case requiring crews to construct a bra for one particularly voluptuous building). Mirceas quest for connection holds together the myriad strands of The Left Wing. Some forms of connection center on him, particularly the connections between Mircea and his familys past, as seen in his carrying on his mother, grandmother, and grandfathers uncanny talent for dreaming. Some of The Left Wings characters seek to understand the connections between the physical and spiritual worlds, as seen in the figure of Cedric, the jazz musician who relates to Maria, Mirceas mother, tales of his own spiritual journey under the streets of New Orleans, where he was introduced to scores of people from all over the world, meeting in underground vaults to share their quest to connect, to understand the relationship of the spiritual with the physical. Mirceas desperate cry to discover meaning in the connections in his life is one echoed by Cedric and many others throughout The Left Wing. In this classic description of the butterfly effect, Mircea provides his justification for exploring Bucharest and New Orleans, past and present, in one volume. Crtrescu incorporates all these meanings into his trilogy, which itself is structured as a butterfly, with a left wing, a body, and a right wing. Cocoons appear in dream-sequences, extraordinary multicolored butterflies are caught behind ice in the Danube River, Mirceas mother Maria comes across a naked woman and a huge butterfly in an elevator in Bucharest. In the final passages of The Left Wing, Crtrescu concludes with a lengthy call for a new religion, one that puts humans in the position of giving birth to God, bound in a determinist circle of creation: God has not died, rather he has yet to be born.
Cartarescu dolorosamente riconosce: questo libro illeggibile, che non dice nulla, che non vale nulla, non vuole nulla e non significa nulla, percorri insieme a esso, simile a una barca a vela, il piano trasparente del nostro mondo. Cartarescu sussurra aneddoti infantili e episodi cerebrali in un clima sotterraneo, nel quale cercare la sorgente di tanta inquietudine e miseria, seguire l'eco di ciò che non esiste, ascoltare l'urlo dentro a un sogno già decaduto, disconoscersi e negarsi fino all'anestesia sensoria, all'isterica epifania, alla cognizione del sanguinante nulla. Mutilazione del vivere che è ancoraggio nervoso: poter percepire sulla pelle il mistero della consapevolezza, di una coscienza che prega e regredisce e insieme sperimenta e inventa e delira, come un fiume inaccessibile, un gioco a perdere, un documento innominabile. Nonostante tutto noi stiamo fra il passato e lavvenire come un corpo vermiforme di farfalla tra le sue due ali. Possiamo utilizzarne una per volare, perché abbiamo inviato i nostri filamenti nervosi fino alle sue estremità; quanto allaltra, non la conosciamo, quasi fossimo privati dellocchio che guarda dalla sua parte.
In Blinding Mircea Crtrescu manages to create his own fabulous reality which is as weird, colourful and enigmatic as Hieronymus Bosch's triptych The Garden of Earthly Delights. The universe is made of indivisible opposites Reverie cant exist without reality Time is the opposite of space and they are one.
It's been three months since I'd read this, and I've thought about reviewing it several times, but I'd always chicken out. The novel also jumps around in time throughout the author's life, and will even jump to before he was born, with stories of his ancestors. It's both a novel and a collection of stories, and it's definitely not something to be read quickly. With Blinding: The Left Wing I had to soak up every word, and it took me nearly a month to read, in fits and starts, but it was worth it.
Mi avvicinerei forse di più se dicessi che il bambino solitario che dalla sua finestra scrostata osserva una Bucarest-selva oscura è il punto di partenza per una vertiginosa e lisergica ricostruzione del passato e delle figure che lo popolano? Ma si può parlare di ricostruzione del passato, o di storia di uninfanzia e di una città, quando la città è un labirinto di specchi deformanti e rotti, una distesa di edifici da periferia industriale e di sotterranei in cui minerale ed organico si fondono come in un quadro di Max Ernst? E poi, chi racconta questa storia?
Y de la poesía como cosmovisión, como manifestación estética, todos hemos formado parte siendo niños y seguimos en mayor o menor medida formando parte, aun cuando esta termine de pronto, pues tras el velo de nuestros párpados continúa sucediendo lo extraordinario. Así, todos los grandes narradores son niños atrapados en un cuerpo extraño que se deteriora mucho más deprisa de lo que lo hacen sus sueños; todos y cada uno de los grandes narradores son a su vez grandes poetas. Se puede ser poeta sin haber escrito un verso jamás, siempre que uno sea capaz de ver la belleza del mundo y de reconstruirla para sí mismo y para los otros. La única verdad plena es el futuro; y el único futuro posible nace de la ceguera; no de una que ensombrezca, que apague, sino de una que ilumine con plena fuerza el interior, como cuando cerramos los ojos y los fosfenos desfilan brillantes representando nuestra alma: una ceguera provocada por un disco luminoso tan potente como para hacernos olvidar, de una vez por todas, todo aquello que nos han forzado a creer; una ceguera que nos permita renacer y verlo todo de nuevo con otros ojos: partir hacia el hogar que nunca ha dejado de aguardarnos.
In Blinding, medical and neuroscience vocab is the thing.*) Its more explicitly psychedelic than Perec or Pynchon, a narrative like falling into a succession of fractals, not always sure where the current one began. Some of these are windows into episodes of Cartarescu's or his forbears' lives, which are realist stories of human experience for a few, or dozens of pages before spinning off into the deeply fantastical. It's the age when Cartarescu wrote Blinding, in the early 1990s, just after the fall of Ceaucescu.) I wrote most of this post in April & May and have added bits relating to the later part of the book it still emphasises the first half to 2/3 a bit. I'm not sure if I was just in the right frame of mind or if it was due to a quality of the writing: I read material which I somehow felt I'd always wanted but previously, otherwise not been able to take. Later in Blinding, a long story of a New Orleans voudou underworld contains features which remind that behind the iron curtain, you didn't get memos about post-colonial theory; the imagery draws unapologetically on decades-old pulp, gone surrealist, virtuosic, and so vivid I remember it in pictures as if I'd read a comic, not words. In the last third of the book, the body horror becomes more extreme and combines with a kind of medical horror which surreally spins off spells that Cartarescu spent in hospital as a kid (for unknown reason) and a teenager (for facial paralysis). I was a lonely boy, no strength, no joy In a world of my own at the back of the garden I didn't want to compete or play out on the street for in a secret life I was a Roundhead general Sometimes the writing is like Iain Sinclair hermitting with some medical textbooks and a fuckload of drugs... Occasionally I would look up pictures of the architecture after reading urban sections of the book, and the narrative became visually clearer. Blinding is, as most other posters have said, a difficult book to explain just as its difficult to explain why or how, despite the horror and tiringness of some of the later parts of volume 1, Id be raring to pick up volume 2 right now if it were already available in English. The cover is a cardboard version of laid paper as used in writing gift sets, and the whole thing looks like it might contain art pictures or smutty or bizarre photos à la Taschen.
Bunu üçlemenin ilk cildi için söylüyorum elbette, serinin dier halkalar nasl bir bütüne iaret ediyor açkças ben pek tahmin edemiyorum. Üç bölüm olan romann ilk ve son bölümü Mirceann anlatc olarak kendisinin olduu; anlattklar açsndan da daha çok kendisine döndüü bölümler. Ancak bir nevi romann merkezini oluturan ikinci bölüm yazarn annesinin hayatna odaklanyor ve burada anlatc kendisi olmaktan çkyor. Tüm bunlar bir kenara brakrsak roman kozmos ile alakal. Keke bu alanla daha yakn bir ilikim olsaym diye hayflanmadm deil okurken; ancak ne yazk ki kitaba ramen, hala çok ilgi alanma giren bir konu olmadndan, okurken de ekstra okuma yapmamay, kafamdaki bilgilerle yetinmeyi tercih ettim. Carterascu, roman boyunca iç ve d kozmosun içindeki insann anlamszln ve tüm bu anlamszla ramen, insann biyolojik yapsndan kaynaklanan, kendi kendine uyarlan bir canl olmasnn getirdii mutsuzluu pesimist ama bir o kadar da realist bir yaklamla ele alyor. Kozmolojinin omurga olduu eserde bu yaklam, insann organik sistemini olmas gerektii derecede ciddiye alyor, hatta belki okuyucuya ilahi sorgulamalar yaptrrken bir yandan kendisini deersiz hissettiriyor. Fakat bu derece ciddi ve youn bir eserde daha iyi bir çeviriyle editörlüün olmas gerektiini Ayrnt Yaynlar daha sonra masaya yatracaktr diye umuyorum. Baka bir nokta ise kelebek imgesinin "Orbitor" için muazzam bir leitmotif olmas.
In 1991 he became a lecturer at the Chair of Romanian Literary History, part of the University of Bucharest Faculty of Letters.