The Farce

Carmen Firan

Translated from the Romanian by Doru Motz

ISBN 1-881471-96-9   $10.00    160 pages

The author evokes the days surrounding an uprising and subsequent revolution in an Eastern European country at the close of the '80's. The father of one family tells of the transition from communism’s mundane trials to the new and fantastic trials of that country’s liberation from another "family’s" long and ruthless dictatorship.


The Farce follows a print journalist's career through the uprising of 1989 and into the uncertain years that have followed. We all remember the great days of the Timisoara uprising with Codrescu actually in Romania and reporting live from Bucharest on NPR. Astonishing events in which the darkest of the communist regimes exacted a bloody revenge during its tumultuous disintegration. But since then what has become of Romania? In Firan's version it took up feminism and families disintegrated, it took up new age religions and logic as well and the economy disintegrated, and many looked back to Ceausescu with nostalgia. Strange lovely book that may have slipped past the radar of most readers as it's from the mysterious publisher Spuyten Duvil (means, the Devil's Spit --and is also the name of a tiny area in North Manhattan).



Between the time when an old world collapses and a new hasn't yet appeared, with the gift of sight and the luck of presence, dip their quills in stellar matter and sketch the future. Carmen Firan has the gift and the timing. Her stories are filled with the magical realism of a place that seems, occasionally, like ultra-realism, and at others, like pure fairy-tale. To be born in-between is a goldmine for writers, but a curse for most people. The unique hybrid creatures that have emerged from the cracks between millennia have been captured here in all their eerieness. You can hear in Firan’s prose the turning over of the wheel of time, the changing of once seemingly immutable orders, the anguish of people struggling to escape history and to understand themselves. Her writing lifts the curse, briefly.

     Andrei Codrescu, NPR commentator and author of  A Hole in the Flag and Casanova in Bohemia

Carmen Firan is a poet and fiction writer. She has published ten books of poetry, a novel, essays and short stories, as well as several plays and film scripts. Her writings appear in translation in many literary magazines and in various anthologies in France, Israel, Sweden, Germany, Ireland, Canada,

U K, and the USA.