cover of book

The Grand Prize and Other Stories
by Daniela Crasnaru
translated by Adam J. Sorkin
Northwestern University Press, 2005
eISBN: 978-0-8101-2166-9 | Cloth: 978-0-8101-1849-2 | Paper: 978-0-8101-1850-8
Library of Congress Classification PC840.13.R34M313 2004
Dewey Decimal Classification 859.334

Daniela Crasnaru is one of the most prominent poets and short story writers in her native Romania. Once a vocal foe of the Ceauçescu regime, Crasnaru was influenced by the political repression of the communist period; but her short stories depart from those of the many Eastern European writers who use literature purely as a forum for political expression. She also focuses her sympathetic eye on the human foibles of ordinary people whose lives are limited by feelings of helplessness and failure.

Crasnaru portrays the lives of people so used to hardship that it never occurs to them to surrender. An unhappily married woman waits in vain for a call from a potential lover. A foul-mouthed mother of seven accuses a war hero of conning her out of her life savings. A lawyer is lured to a forest by a dead coworker's stories of a beautiful woman. Those with drab lives use fantasy to endure and those who believe themselves happy are forced to face grim realities. Crasnaru mixes elements of the ridiculous, the fanciful, and the grotesque with vivid realism and her remarkable stories, while taking place in a dark era in her nation's history, are about the human as well as the Romanian condition.
Nearby on shelf for Romance / Romanian: