Filuteks Handbuch der Fragen

Everything is all right "at the dreams fair." When you look for the small town of your childhood and resume your life where "you left it lying". Taking a walk through the place awakens memories of the insane Marie, the asthmatic grandmother, the boy who watched the town from atop a tree, of Luisa, who believes she needs to justify her life - a web of stories and perspectives. Then the narrator leaves this calming province and invents an author. The "micro novel" Handbuch der Fragen is his creation, and Filutek his big city hero.

Carmen-Francesca Banciu's epic novel, characterized by an excentrically poetic mood in which narration and reflection pervade and "disturb", is a unique example of literature where reality turns into a dream and dreams turn into reality.

PalmArtPress is happy to announce that a reprint will be published after almost 20 years.

Carmen-Francesca Banciu - Reviews

"Her poetic landscapes border the night, grimly fascinating grid square between heaven and hell, because Carmen-Francesca Banciu's writing originates from the darkest depths of a Balkan inner world. Using her knowledge of a literary ethnologist, the author composes short pieces of drama in prose, which capture the comical in the abominable - and vice versa. (...) After her novel  'Fenster in Flammen', Banciu's intimately-woven episode novel delivers new stories about people who struggle with failure; bizarre provincial lone wolves such as the insane Marie or unstable Luisa who considers her life as her only guilt. It is then Filutek, the poet of imagination, and his no less fictitious 'Handbuch der Fragen', who seem to provide disturbing answers to any and all questions regarding vegetating and provincial madness. Changing between delirium and reality, between daydream and madness, the author writes about the philosophical on the border to silence. Enigmatic language of a foreign, mysterious beauty: stories from the 'night asylum' that is life."

- Die Weltwoche 

"Creating and protecting an identity 'despite everything' - that is what Banciu's figures aspire to do so their identity safeguards them from the omnipresent struggles of life. The author presents rejection even within the language of the text: the sentences are laconic, periods instead of commas regulate the flow. A unique, faltering rhythm is created. Banciu's view is not one of anger, her tone not a lament. However, distancing oneself from her texts is nearly impossible, because the Romanian portrays her figures so intimately. This reveals two of her talents: she has a commanding knowlege of irony (...). She is also more than capable in creating dense, almost bizarre webs of prose.

Currently, Carmen-Francesca Banciu is working on a novel. Maybe that one will also turn out to be a small masterpiece about people walking the line between illusion and reality."

- Stefan Sprang, Märkische Allgemeine

"Carmen-Francesca Banciu's stories are compressed experiences from the night asylum a whole country has turned into. Against the fear that is averting its gaze from human tragedies only close examination can aid - even if it takes cutting off eyelids - and a literature that can detect the comical in the atrocious. A literature that arms itself with defiance, willpower and charming disrespect."

- Roland H. Wiegenstein, WDR


"One already knows a certain scarcity from Banciu's earlier stories. The intelligently abbreviated sarscasm, the surprising turns from narration to comments within a few lines; the all too prematurely ended sentences that, contradictorily, are continued in the next sentence. Often the use of this style revealed a reality that only exists because of propaganda."

- Katharina Döbler, Neue Zürcher Zeitung