Monday, 26 October 2015

The haversack

Like any child, I too went through that period when you think that the pencil case, the fountain pen or even the shoes you wear tell more about who you really are, and what and how you think don’t make any difference. Well, such a period seems inevitable! What I don’t understand is how it happens that some adults still find themselves living in it. But I let myself get carried away.  
The other day I saw a camo haversack and it reminded me of the one I had during the secondary school. It was moss green, and the handles and straps were coral red. All in all, a wonder! I was so proud to have it. My colleagues still had backpacks or had gone to student paper cases, but I was camouflaging. Well, as much as one can camouflage oneself wearing red.

Thursday, 22 October 2015

'Fathers and Sons' by Ivan Sergheyevich Turgenev

Some things will never change, and amongst them the eternal dissension between generations, which is beautifully depicted in the novel “Fathers and Sons”. What impressed me the most is the fact that Turgenev chooses to present it in antithesis with itself. For there always were elder people that disagree with the ideas of the young generations, and elder people that praise the enthusiasm of the young generation. Both situations occurred and will keep occurring until the end.
I subjectively interpret the last depiction of the novel as a fragile victory of the later. But regardless of the seeming winner, quirk of fate is what dominates us all.

‘But think of his upbringing?’ expostulated Arkady. ‘Think of the period in which he has lived his life!’
‘His upbringing?’ retorted Bazarov. ‘Why, a man ought to bring himself up, even as I had to do. And with regard to his period, why should I, or any other man, be dependent upon periods? Rather, we ought to make periods dependent upon us. ‘

Tuesday, 20 October 2015

Smile, please!

Illustration by Cristi Vecerdea-Criv


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

Friday, 16 October 2015

„The case of Mrs. Predescu” - Petre Bellu

Before writing about this thrilling book, I would just like to shake off the indignation that grasped me. I bought this book from an antique shop. I must say, at first, I had doubts whether to buy it or not since the cover made me think of one of Sandra Brown’s books. But I bought it. And read it. Reading it, right until the end, I was convinced that it must have been a woman writing it, using a male pen name. It wouldn’t have been the first time. Then, I browsed google and found out that this man really existed. Only a few Romanian antique shop sites showed me some book titles of Petre Bellu, amongst which the most controversial of his works, „The defender may speak now”. But that was all the information I found. Two Spanish sites bring praise, though, to Petre Bellu. Browsing them I found some information about his life and his works. It impressed me the most to see that there were comments of Spanish speaking people that put the novel amongst the most precious „jewelries of the realist literature”. What about us, Romanians? Well, there are few mentions of his name in Romanian. Scribd  site seems to put at our disposal the novel „The defender may speak now”.

Petre Bellu (1896-1952) was born in Roșiorii de Vede, into a poor family, and he spent his childhood in Bucharest. His first novel, published at Ig. Hertz Publishing House, „The defender may speak now” (1934) brings him fame and also the hatred of the famous writers of those times. In the foreword to „The case of Mrs. Predescu” (1935), Bellu gives thanks to Panait Istrati’s support, but also to the publishing house that edited his first novel, being that it had a lot to suffer after it.
„The case of Mrs. Predescu” has at its centre prejudice and social roles. Those imposed by others, and also those imposed by ourselves. Bellu makes a minute description of the feminine soul, but also of the male soul, of the expectations of the parties and their position regarding the requests of the society.
The novel „The case of Mrs. Predescu” was republished in 1991 by Marius Publishing House, which no longer exists. But if it weren’t for its efforts, I wouldn’t have had the pleasure to lose myself in these extraordinary pages, and I would have found myself even more ashamed to discover that, somewhere in Santiago de Chile, people talk about a great Romanian writer that I have never heard of.

Excerpt of „The case of Mrs. Predescu”:
"I want nothing to know about the world! If the world condemns me, so be it!... I want to do it all, against the world. Moreover: I want to get back at the world. What does the world want with me? It wants me to rip off my heart and give it to it, as a satisfaction for its approvals and disapprovals?... Well, I won’t do such a thing! I ask people to leave me alone, and stop giving me advice. I don’t need it. In my heart and mind, I have a more complex and sincere world, with whom I take counsel together when I need it.”

Friday, 9 October 2015

Norman Manea – “October, eight o’clock

As a rule, people like to believe that roads are covered only by directing oneself forward. One changes sceneries, gains experience, courage etc. What sense is there in looking back?! Moreover, what sense is there in going back?! Even if it is just picturing oneself back in time.

Well, there is a sense. And it gets clearer and clearer by each and every story one reads from this book. For me, “October, eight o’clock” and “Requiem for fools and beasts” by Augustin Buzura represent cold showers to the consciousness. Anyone afraid of catching a cold, don’t be! When in a warm place, the risk is totally neutralized.

Wednesday, 7 October 2015

Weather report

It’s a gloomy weather. It’s gloomy and it rains. It’s rainy and foggy. This fog reminds me of Kogălniceanu. Not the politician. But the village where my grandparents lived. My grandparents sitting on the stoop within their curtilage. In the curtilage, Azor is barking. It is barking and weaving its tail. We are standing in line, exchanging embraces and cherishing the happiness of the encounter. Encounters as rare and fragile as smoke. Smoke comes out of chimney stacks, and the air around us smells of crushed black grapes, and the tip of my fingers, imbued with stum, shiver with cold. I rub them against the back of my hand, but they dance sticking and unsticking to it, and then sticking to it again. Again!

Monday, 5 October 2015


The wet nose of a hog
Clearly proclaims the coming of fall.
It’s cold and a promise I shall make
Starting from tomorrow, a song I will sing to lucerne.
Full of blue flowers, it doesn’t know
That us, the others, in turn and senselessly bear fruit.  
We dream, and we do not give guerdon
And we bathe only on Monday.