Carmen-Francesca Banciu

Fenster in Flammen

We want to have responsible children who look at life and its events straight in the eye. As well as the unpredictable. That’s why we play Mozart records for them and they play it back to us on a piano with standard-size keys that are drawn on a wooden board.

They conscientiously strike the marked keys as the records play. I sit next to them with the knitting needle and follow the beat. And tap out the tempo for them. When they miss the notes I tap them on their fingers. Living in the ghetto is no excuse to master an instrument only in part.

The stories of Carmen-Francesca Bancius tell of the extraordinary aspects of everyday life, the thin line between the dream world and reality. In thirteen portraits she profiles people who, with their singular charm, confront the chaos of the post-socialist cities of the East. The surreal vividness of her language is captivating. And she succeeds just as precisely in taking an ironic, broken perspective on the ghetto of personal poverty and the petty bourgeois. After almost 25 years, PalmArtPress is proud to republish this book.


"Carmen-Francesca Banciu conveys a large helping of worldly wisdom. Some of it had been completely forgotten in this country. Mainly because they had become superfluous in our cushy world. By reading the stories, we gradually become aware of our loss. In the end we ourselves end up feeling poorer than those who - often from lofty heights - it was so easy to pity." Hella Kaiser - Der Tagesspiegel

"Her tone is unmistakable, her characters will get stuck in your head. “Maria-Maria wants to be demure, upright, enthusiastic, and happy. And these are of course desires that don‘t go together,” according to one of the heroines. It‘s obvious that such desires don‘t go together, but you have to think them together nonetheless, which is why Carmen-Francesca Banciu writes." Roland H. Wiegenstein - Frankfurter Rundschau

Carmen-Francesca Banciu

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.