Reviews / Essays | Radu Cosaşu

Radu Cosaşu and the Circus of Words

January 08, 2009

Critic: Filip Florian
Translated by: Florin Bican, Jean Harris

When Radu Cosaşu writes a sentence, the words have a ball, no less, and what else could they do? Nuance tone and whimsy get together in a textual paradise. Personally, I have never run into such verbal dressage—words: new with old, exclamations with doubts, limpid things with metaphors, ...


Reviews / Essays | Mircea Horia Simionescu

The Artist Doesn’t Need Peace and Quiet

December 01, 2008

Translated by: Jean Harris

“It’s a farce! Someone told you, I’m 80 years old? I’ve heard that rumor’s going around town myself, but I’m telling you, it’s not true! I haven’t hit 80. If you want to believe I’m 80, that’s your business or the newspaper’s.” You turned 80 on January 23, 2008. How ...


Reviews / Essays | Mircea Nedelciu

Mircea Nedelciu : A Brief Introduction

November 01, 2008

Critic: Sanda Cordoş
Translated by: Alistair Ian Blyth

Mircea Nedelciu died shortly before the age of forty-nine. He lived under a totalitarian regime for thirty-nine years, and he confronted illness and death for the last ten years of his life. Born on 12 November 1950, in Fundulea where his parents worked the land, Nedelciu attended the village high ...


Reviews / Essays | Stelian Tănase

Translating Tănase

September 30, 2008

Critic: Jean Harris

Whenever I translate a Romanian text, I realize I’m translating culture. The same thing happens to everyone. A text in French (Aramaic or Chinese) exists in a cultural medium, and if the alchemy and logistics are right, an air of French-ness somehow percolates into AmerEnglish—or so the ...


Reviews / Essays | Gheorghe Crăciun

A Bertrand Russell with a Wagnerian Twist

September 01, 2008

Critic: Caius Dobrescu
Translated by: Patrick Camiller

Gheorghe Craciun’s(1) novel cannot be the simple tale of one woman’s misfortunes. Its driving impulse must be something other than compassion for the fate of a “victim of society.” Pupa russa is—only superficially—a realist novel that shows how Leontina Guran, a “typical” ...




About this issue

This July, The Observer Translation Project leaves its usual format to present a special CRISIS ISSUE. Things are tough all over. Hard Times suddenly feels like the book of the moment. The global economic crisis impacts life as we know it, and viewed from Bucharest the effects reverberate in domains that include geo-politics and publishing in Romania and abroad, with the crisis at The Observer Translation Project as an instance of a universal phenomenon. read more...

Translator's Choice

Author: Stelian Tănase
Translated by: Jean Harris

From Maestro: A Melodrama. Episode 7

Emiluţa has an unfortunate thought. She’ll throw herself off the top of the building. Why? What the fuck? Let’s say for the cause of PeaceonEarth, for the slumdogs, Europe, for the lonely. Which is to say she doesn’t have a ghost of a reason. Viva Walachia! The way things stand, if ...

Translator’s Note
Translator’s Note: a synopsis
Author: Ştefan Agopian
Translated by: Ileana Orlich

How I Learned to Read (from Tache de Catifea / The Velvet Man)

The bearded man was the owner of an apothecary shop where he worked with two apprentices. Nobody paid me any mind, so I spent all day in what was supposed to be the shop. I say this because it was a large, dark room full of odors—a mix of smells from everywhere. The room hadn’t been cleaned ...

Translator’s Note
Re: Learning to Read, from Tache de catifea / The Velvet Man
Author: Gabriela Adameşteanu
Translated by: Patrick Camiller

Wasted Morning - Napoleon in Bucharest

“What you’ve got here is heaven on earth,” Vica says as she drops onto the kitchen chair. “But where’s your mother?” “At work,” Gelu lazily replies, leaning sideways against the door. “She’s doing mornings this week, didn’t you know?” He is tall and thin, with unset ...

Author: Petre Ispirescu
Translated by: Jean Harris

Youth Without Age and Life Without Death

It happened once as never before-y, ‘cause if it couldn’t be true, it wouldn’t make a story about the time when the poplar tree made berries and the willow tree broke out in cherries, when bears began to brawl with their tails, and wolf and lamb, unfurling their sails, threw arms around each ...

Translator’s Note
On Petre Ispirescu
Exquisite Corpse

Planned events in Cultural Agenda see All Planned Events

17 December
Tardes de Cinema Romeno
As tardes de cinema romeno do ICR Lisboa continuam no dia 17 de Dezembro de 2009, às 19h00, na ...
14 December
Omaggio a Gheorghe Dinica Proiezione del film "Filantropica" (regia Nae Caranfil, 2002)
“Filantropica” è uno dei film che più rendono giustizia al ...
12 December
Årets Nobelpristagare i litteratur Herta Müller gästar Dramaten
Foto: Cato Lein 12.12.2009, Dramaten, Nybroplan, Stockholm I samband med Nobelveckan kommer ...
10 December
Romanian Festival @ Peninsula Arts - University of Plymouth
13 & 14 November 2009. Films until 18 December. Twenty of Romania's most influential and ...
10 December
Lesung und Gespräch mit Ioana Nicolaie
Donnerstag, 10. Dezember, um 19.30 Uhr Ort: Szimpla Café Gärtnerstrs.15, ...

Our Partners

Razvan Lazar_Dunkelkammer SENSO TV Eurotopics Institutul Cultural Roman Economic Forum Krynica Radio Romania Muzical Liternet Radio France International Romania Suplimentul de cultura Radio Lynx