Captives by Norman Manea

By Norman Manea

Captives, the acclaimed author Norman Manea's first novel, is an interesting, kaleidoscopic, and creative inspect postwar Romania. Divided into 3 sections–narrated in first-, second-, and third-person voices–Captives explores the lives of a number of defeated characters as they turn into virtually an excessive amount of to undergo less than the burden of unending humiliations: lack of id, trauma of getting survived the second one global struggle, and submission to the totalitarian state. 

This is a relocating account of a rustic shaken through communism and anti-Semitism and haunted by means of contemporary atrocities, from "a uncommon author whose imaginative and prescient of totalitarianism is with regards to Kafka's cloudy threat, common but internalized" (Richard Eder, The long island Times).

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Shall she rouse herself to walk and shake her black head, and stretch her prodigious arms into the sky? She will arise. And man – man – poor idiot in his painted boat – down, down, down … she lies still, so still that her heart stops beating …. (“MS”, 91) The emphasis on the hugeness of the ocean’s breast infantilises the man lying upon this “tremendous bosom” and suggests a mother-child relationship. It is thus on the dead mother’s bosom that Mr Slaughterboard’s painted ship is stuck; it is the dead mother that waits to receive her child at the point where the story breaks off.

F. C. Hull [London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1954], 179). Julia Kristeva, Powers of Horror: An Essay on Abjection, trans. Leon Roudiez (New York: Columbia University Press, 1982), 3. “Kristeva’s use of the concept of jouissance is conceived essentially as the pleasure of an anarchic sexuality, a sexuality without a structured relation to an Psychoanalytic Perspectives 29 the absence of a psychological boundary between mother and infant. In exploring the child’s psychological task of separating from the mother, Kristevan theory turns away from the father-dominated Freudian and Lacanian versions of psychoanalytic theory towards an emphasis on the role of the mother in the child’s development.

R. F. C. Hull, 2nd edn (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1967), 334. Sigmund Freud, “Delusions and Dreams in Jensen’s Gradiva”, in Jensen’s “Gradiva” and Other Works, The Complete Psychological Works of Sigmund Freud, trans. James Strachey (London: Hogarth Press, 1959), IX, 7. , 41. Julia Kristeva and Alain Nicolas, “Proust: ‘A Search for Our Time’”, in Julia Kristeva, Interviews (New York: Columbia University Press, 1996), 239. Jacques Lacan, “Seminar on “The Purloined Letter”, trans. Jeffrey Mehlman, in The Purloined Poe: Lacan, Derrida and Psychoanalytic Reading, eds John Muller and William Richardson (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1988), 37.

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