Max Blecher

Max Blecher

Even at a young age it was clear that Max Blecher was quite talented. By the time he was sixteen, he had been published by a prominent Bucharest magazine, and by nineteen he had begun medical school in Paris. While at medical school, Blecher was diagnosed with tuberculosis of the spine, or Pott’s disease, and was forced to abandon his studies. He sought treatment at various sanatoria in France, Switzerland, and Romania, but the disease was incurable. The treatment at the time was prolonged bed rest and a plaster body cast that encased Blecher for the remainder of his life. Blecher spent this decade between his diagnosis and death by writing two novels, one book of poetry, and numerous articles and translations. He also continually corresponded with some of the great writers and philosophers of the time, including Geo Bogza, André Breton, André Gide, and Martin Heidegger. His writing was deeply influenced by surrealism and rich with metaphors and dreamlike moments. Often compared to Kafka, Blecher wrote about his illness without an element of self-pity. He died at the age of twenty-eight.

Adventures in Immediate Irreality

Fiction by Max Blecher

Translated by Michael Henry Heim

Adventures in Immediate Irreality, the masterwork of the Romanian writer Max Blecher, vividly paints the crises of “irreality” that plagued him in his youth: eerie unsettling mirages wherein he would glimpse future events. In gliding chapters that move with a peculiar dream logic of their own, this memoiristic novel sketches the tremulous, frightening, and exhilarating awakenings of a very young man.
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Sleekly liquid work, the poetry of seething matter itself.

—Dustin Illingworth, 3:AM

A book deserving of new readers, by a writer whose remaining body of work I can only hope will finally appear in its entirety in this country.

The Nation

When you read his books it’s hard to believe your eyes. The author of this masterpiece was a twenty-five-year-old already weakened by disease, but Blecher’s words don’t merely describe the objects—they dig their talons into the things and hoist them high.

—Herta Müller

The thing that renders Blecher’s gaze so penetrating is the eroticism that dwells in all things, pining to get out.

—Herta Müller

Blecher has often been compared to Kafka (and not without reason), but the strongest connection, however, is with Salvador Dali. Like Dali’s ‘soft clocks,’ everything here is about to melt. It is as though Blecher’s world is always on the verge of ontological collapse; from behind the veil of things, nothingness stares out at him.

The Times Literary Supplement

An extraordinary writer, in the family of Kafka and Bruno Schulz. A short life, overwhelmed by disease; a small—but great—magical work. Hallucinatory, intense, and deeply authentic, its literary force is fueled, paradoxically and not entirely, by an acute sensitivity and ardor.

—Norman Manea
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