The Childhood Of Kaspar Hauser

(Copilaria Lui Kaspar Hauser)

Bogdan-Alexandru Stanescu

Winner Of The Thoreau Nephew Prize In Romania
Winner Of The Radio Romania Cultural Award For Literature
Laureate Of The Festival Du Premier Roman De Chambery
Winner Of The Ateneu Magazine Prize For Prose
Shortlisted For The European Union Prize For Literature 2019

The Childhood of Kaspar Hauser -Bogdan Stanescu

‘The Childhood of Kaspar Hauser is the place where the Bret Easton Ellis of Lunar Park miraculously meets Nabokov.’ România literara

’This is the novel of a sacrificed generation, that of the transition from communism to democracy, and is also one of the first novels dedicated to Bucharest after the Revolution.’ Observatorul cultural

‘Bogdan Stanescu is one of the most talented writers of the new literary generation in his country. Author of excellent books of poetry, prose and criticism he represents the best of the new post-communist spiritual climate in today’s Eastern Europe. His Kaspar Hauser (nicknamed “Bobitza” – ‘berry’) confronts a difficult childhood and adolescence in the periphery of Bucharest, among a broken family, a group of violent companions, young, brutal outsiders and his own confused solitude. In the second part of this ambitious novel (made of connected short and longer stories) we find him in a lucid transition towards a sceptical but still reasonable maturity,finally ready to accept his part in the tense and often traumatic pressure of our time. The brilliant modulations and potential of a dynamic, often picturesque style adds vitality, charm and mystery to the narrative. A subtle and profound coming of age book, astute and colourful, written with passion and intelligence, highly significant for the current disturbing and often overwhelming time of re-evaluations and change.’ NORMAN MANEA, author, professor at Bard

Written from the double perspective of the child/teenager and the adult, THE CHILDHOOD OF KASPAR HAUSER is a coming-of-age novel as well as a novel about the degradation of a human being (the narrator) under the constant erosion of a complicated family life (involving the absence of his real father, the presence of successive step fathers) and that of the general chaos of Romania of the 80s and the 90s. The child starts telling the story with a very straightforward and sane voice, capturing sensations and images and trying to put them together into a coherent image of reality, but grows into a jaded human being, an alcoholic adult, lost in a seductive but shallow world. It is a puzzle-novel, a novel of stories, and an attempt to describe one of the darkest moments in recent Romanian history. The novel has gathered wide critical acclaim in Romania and had to be reprinted three times in only four months.

‘Le charme, c’est justement le mot qui convient à ce roman de Bogdan Alexandru Stanescu, né en 1979, auteur d’essais, dont l’un sur Ossip Mandelstam, et de recueils de poésie. Tout le livre est porté par une écriture tendue, excessive, où les dialogues très colorés – l’alcool aidant – sont truffés de mots tziganes, parfois français, puis anglais, foire de Francfort oblige. La mélancolie de l’ancien petit garçon «terrorisé» baigne aussi le livre. Travaillée par la mémoire enfantine, la ville de Bucarest brille d’un éclat singulier.’ Libération


  • Polirom Romania
  • Fraktura Croatia
  • Editions Phébus France
  • Antalog Macedonia
  • Janet 45 Bulgaria
  • Jelenkor Hungary

Material: Romanian edition (250pp); complete French translation; German sample.