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Cărtărescu, Mircea

Entry updated 6 March 2023. Tagged: Author.

(1956-    ) Romanian teacher, poet and author, active from around 1978. He is of some sf interest for his first novel, Visul ["The Dream"] (1989; uncensored version, vt Nostalgia 1993; trans Julian Semilian 2005), where an exorbitant use of the topoi of Fantastika are assembled (and re-assembled through the five disparate sections of the work) into a kaleidoscopic rendering of the fractured reality of a state like Romania during and after the plague of totalitarianism. Giants roam this world (see Great and Small); a central building contains the secrets of the universe (see Library); the music of the spheres is longed for and (deliriously) rediscovered. The butterfly-shaped intertwining narratives contained in the Orbitor ["Blinding"] sequence, beginning with Orbitor, Vol 1: Aripa Stângă (1996; trans Sean Cotter as Blinding, Book One: The Left Wing 2013), are explicitly influenced by the work of Thomas Pynchon, and generate a sense of the world irradiated by obscurely networked conspiracies. The protagonist of Solenoid (2015; trans Sean Cotter 2022) is conveyed to/given visions of existences in other Dimensions, his access provided by the eponymous device constructed from a design by Nikola Tesla.

There is a sense, throughout both Nostalgia and its much later companion, that much of the importance in a post-totalitarian world of stories of this sort lies in the ability to story them in words: to make-believe the future is describable. [JC]

Mircea Cărtărescu

born Bucharest, Romania: 1 June 1956

works (highly selected)



individual titles

  • Visul ["The Dream"] (Bucharest, Romania: Cartea Românească, 1989) [binding unknown/]
    • Nostalgia (Bucharest, Romania: Cartea Românească/Bucharest, Romania: Humanitas, 1993) [uncensored version of the above: binding unknown]
      • Nostalgia (New York: New Dimensions, 2005) [trans by Julian Semilian of the above: hb/]
  • Solenoid (Bucharest, Romania: Editura Humanitas, 2015) [binding unknown/]
    • Solenoid (Dallas, Texas: Deep Vellum Publishing, 2022) [trans by Sean Cotter of the above: pb/]

collections and stories

  • Enciclopedia zmeilor ["Encyclopedia of Dragons"] (Bucharest, Romania: Humanitas, 2002) [coll: binding unknown/]


previous versions of this entry

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