Tuesday, 29 September 2015

Stephen Clarke - "A year in the merde"

Visiting a foreign country and living and working in a foreign country are not one and the same thing. At first glance, living in a foreign country seems a Bohemian experience. It is. But it’s not only that. Some of the aspects of living abroad seem sometimes to be small scenes of an absurdist play. Somewhere in the book, Stephen Clarke mentions that no rights are available in an institution's waiting room. I could not agree more given the experiences I had in my country of origin, but also in other two countries.
“A year in the merde” is a simple and funny story about a British man’s cultural shock when moving to Paris, accepting an interesting job. Out of the many things that took him aback, I must admit that I share his consternation regarding the way French people make somebody’s acquaintance by exchanging kisses on both cheeks. That is a lot of personal space to offer, at first sight, to a stranger! Especially, when they are saved (the kisses) for family and friends. True, the French aren’t the only ones that do this. Spanish people have the same manner of making somebody’s acquaintance, too. Hum, would it be the case of a forgotten courtesy rule?! Well, if there is an explanation for it, unfortunately, it is not unveiled within the book.
The moments when the main character speaks with French people and their difficulties regarding English vocabulary and pronunciation are transcribed into English, making it impossible not to laugh. 

Tuesday, 22 September 2015

Augustin Buzura - Requiem for fools and beasts

This book cannot be retold. Maybe just read and reread. I found myself in it, and also some fragments of images from my childhood, but also from grown-ups' stories. The tremble that comes upon the reader while, page after page, advancing into the book can only be compared to a short-circuit.
One humble recommendation for Univers Publishing House - reprint, please!

Tuesday, 15 September 2015

I'm green

I'm green like an unripe apple, thirsty for rain after heat.
I’m green like a semaphore, hurrying to transform itself into red.
I’m green like a pond, covered entirely by spirogyra.
I’m green, but I sail under false colours, waiting for you to ignore my blue skim.

Saturday, 12 September 2015

Smile, please!

Illustration by Cristi Vecerdea-Criv
Equity is my motto

(At ease! Let's laugh! by Cristi Vecerdea-Criv, published in 1990 at the Military Publishing House)

Tuesday, 8 September 2015

Let's make provisions!

I was six years old at the fall of the Communist regime. I didn't have the chance to stand in queues and I didn't join the pioneer movement. But I clearly remember various things being switched off, like energy, heath, water, and I also remember how happy I was when receiving an orange. Just imagine how I felt when receiving chocolate!
Reminiscences of those time can be noticed in my need of always making provisions. One never knows when one runs out of things, so it's better to salt away is a kind of leit-motif for me. This is how I may explain the fact that four years ago, when my nephew was only turning two, I bought him clothes that fitted a six years old. I looked at them, in the store, and I told myself that they could be a little big, ignoring the label that stated the age. Better larger than smaller, I told myself, and I left the store happy. We laughed for years of my purchase. Four, actually. Finally, this year my nephew was able to wear them.
Today, I realized that one can keep learning and making progresses. That's how I did not buy my nephew a blouse that needs to wait for four years in order to fit him, but only three.
Better to have than not to!

Sunday, 6 September 2015

Honest-Minded People by Vlad Mușatescu

I was really glad to find again this book. It is the most beautiful ode that Vlad Mușatescu dedicated to the people that inspired and helped him throughout his life. I hope there are a lot of honest-minded people out there!

I wanted to leave, when he suddenly asked for help, which was to read the final draft of the manuscript. A thing that I delivered with real delight and abnegation. Without, actually, doing him a big favour. Considering that I, literally, ruined his text, changing the poet's name, which was annoyingly repeated in all its length. Therefore, I corrected it wherever I found it to be in excess. And reduced it to P. Sandor. Which sounded lovely. And even saved some space.
When he noticed that I destroyed his manuscript by distorting the reality, Iancsi-baci grabbed his hair. Which wasn't so much, after all. And told me as gently as he could, at that time:
"Muș, you such an idiot! The poet Petofi, surname, and Sandor name... What for devil we to do now?"
"No problem! I will fix everything... Keep calm!"
"Impossible! You with I cannot calm..."
In a week, from morning until evening, I redid the manuscript. I re-typed all the pages that I corrected. Having the best and noble intentions at heart. How was I supposed to know that Hungarians recite their names backwards, like they do when they read the names from the gradebook?! It seemed abnormal. But, in order not to offend Iancsi-baci's national feelings, I didn't say a word. Well, just like Romanians always say: every bird sings its own known trill."