Song of a Sad Mother
Mother ruled over life and death. Over life and death of my dolls. They're only dolls. They're not living things. And if they were. You mustn't rely on others. When I came home on my first day of school, they were gone. There was a smell of burning in the house. You don’t need them any more. I took away the ashes.
Maria-Maria had broken away from her domineering mother long before her physical death, or at least she thought she had. Neither mother’s cruel lashings nor her cutting criticism had prevented her from rejecting the values and ideals that her authoritarian and Communist party-line- towing parents held so dearly. To their crushing dismay, she would not deploy her artistic talents toward embodying the Ceaucescian model of the “new human.” Quite the contrary, she was going to revel in being imperfect, and embark on a journey of self-exploration in order to discover what it means to be a self that is not defined by being her mother’s daughter or a mother to her own daughter. Putting everything at stake to detach from the primal bond that both oppresses and eludes her, Maria-Maria opens herself up to, and achieves, the unexpected.
Banciu explores an uncompromising struggle for selfhood in a singular voice that is vulnerable and authentic, emotional, and unsparingly honest. Beyond a literary study of the complex dynamics that inextricably bind and repel mothers and daughters, Banciu’s Mother’s Day - Song of a Sad Mother is a courageous reflection on what it means to become and accept one’s self with all of the renunciations and rewards that this fraught journey entails. Elena Mancini
Maria-Maria revisits her experiences. The experiences from her previous life. From a distance. From a different perspective. Lifts herself up with them. Accepts them. Falls in love with them.
The original German edition was published in 2007 by ROTBUCH Publishing co.
"Astonishly sovereign, Banciu, with her ideological wimmelbook, succeeds in a pleasantly vivid style to integrate her family and socialism history together." Hendrik Werner – DIE WELT
"Mother’s Day – Song of the Sad Mother is an artistically compelling book that impressively describes life in the crumple zone between ideology and defective traditions." Judith Leister - Neue Zürcher Zeitung
Carmen-Francesca Banciu was born in Romanian Lipova and studied religious painting and foreign trade in Bucharest. As a result of being awarded the International Short Story Award of the City of Arnsberg for the story "Das strahlende Ghetto" (1985), she was banned from publishing her work in Romania.
In 1991 she accepted an invitation extended by DAAD Berlin Artists-in-Residence program and came to Germany. She has been living in Berlin since 1992, employed as a freelance author writing articles for the radio and newspapers as well as leading seminars for creativity and creative writing. Since 2013 she has acted as the co-editor and deputy director of the transnational, interdisciplinary and multilingual e-magazine Levure Littéraire. Banciu has received numerous literature prizes and scholarships; most recently her Novel Lebt wohl, Ihr Genossen und Geliebten was nominated 2018 for the German Book Prize. Her work has been translated into many languages.