The Veils of the Eternal Exile in the Hooligan’s Return

December 19, 2023


Name: Andrada PUȘCOCI
Affiliation: University of Bucharest


Citation Recommendation: Pușcoci, Andra-Ioana. “The Veils of the Eternal Exile in the Hooligan’s Return”. Synthesis, XLII (2023): 82-93.
Pages: 82-93
Language: English


In The Hooligan’s Return, Norman Manea tackles a series of defining themes for post-war European novels, namely exile, memory, self-delusion, the impossibility of return and life under totalitarian regimes. Manea uses the mythical figure of Ulysses to highlight the attempts of the exile to return to his native country in order to reshape the identity that was fragmented by the totalitarian political regime but also to show the inadequacy that the wanderer feels at the end of the journey to his origins. The long peregrinations deprive the exile of landmarks, as he ends up living on the recollection of events from his nightmarish past. The return to Romania and the confrontation with the past do not induce any emotion but prove to Manea that everything that was familiar to him had faded to the point of being emptied of meaning. Not only Jormania has changed, but so has he, and that is why he ends up feeling alienated from his old existence. The reader becomes a witness to the writer’s effort to recall and relive his own past, a process which purifies Manea’s nostalgia and dilemmas. The Hooligan’s Returnhighlights the complexity of Norman Manea’s wanderings, an author whose life was shaped by fascism, communism, and exile. For Manea, exile is the main theme of his writing, and the hooligan a mask of eternal exile, a symbol of otherness, regardless of how the exile managed to integrate and adapt to the new context provided by the host country

Key-words: joyful exile, communism, cultural transfer, Romanian imagery, Otherness, Francophony


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  • DOI: 10.59277/synthe.2023.1-2.82

One Comment

  • Telkom University January 19, 2024 at 11:09 pm

    How does Norman Manea explore themes such as exile, memory, self-delusion, the impossibility of return, and life under totalitarian regimes in his novel “The Hooligan’s Return”?
    Telkom University

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