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Eugène Ionesco

Present Past Past Present: A Personal Memoir ***

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Part diary, part autobiography, part self-analysis and commentary, this revealing memoir by the playwright of the Absurd is an expression of the writer's search for the wellsprings and justifications of his existence. Diary jottings mingle with searing memories of his authoritarian father, metaphysical musings with thoughts on anti-Semitism, his wartime experiences, Soviet death camps, and the sham of bourgeois revolutionaries. There is also the occasional light-hearted fantasy, played out with children who might be his own; the germ of the idea for Rhinoceros and various passages of self-probing.