Sunday, 27 November 2016

Vasily Grossman - The Road

In the opening of his novel, Maria Arsene has the following motto:

"Always keep in mind that the memory is your legacy.
You have to share it with others so that it won’t perish along with you.
Remember this! Remember this!"

Reading 'The Road' by Vasily Grossman, I realized once more how important it is to keep alive the memory of certain things. They say that history continues to repeat, and that people do not learn from their mistakes. Maybe that happens because we choose to forget, to ignore memories.
Aside from a couple of touching but realistically written short stories, in 'The Road' there are certain short stories that include testimonials of the survivors of German camps. The story 'The Hell of Treblinka' is one of such stories. Here, the writer conveys an answer to the question 'What's the use of us keep remembering such horrors?'; and namely, that the writer has the duty of telling the story, while the reader has the duty of keeping oneself informed, for by ignoring the history, the memory of the death is dishonored. 
Written almost 100 years ago, this story brings to the attention current inquietudes and questions. Grossman goes on beautifully by stating that we should not concentrate upon the responsability that Germany had towards the committed atrocities, but all peoples and current and future citizens have the duty to make sure that something like this never happens again. And that they should always remember.

Saturday, 19 November 2016

Ioana Duda – ‘The journal of my first death’

Mihai Eminescu’s famous verse (‘I never thought that I could ever learn to die’) resounded in my ears when I read the title of this book; so, I skimmed through it a little and decided I must read it.
Yes, this is a journal. But I would add that it is a journal that could belong to anyone. We all have gone through similar anxious moments that the main character, Valentina, goes through. We all have asked ourselves, at a certain moment in time, questions regarding life, death, life after death, love, friendship, the meaning of our being on this earth, the happiness we brought to our loved ones.
I found myself especially in the fragment when Vale retells how her mother used to ask her to take afternoon naps. I remembered the moments when my mom would ask me to go to sleep, and I was far from sleepy. Two sayings of my mom’s remained with me until today. The first one, ‘sure, you did nap! It lasted just as long as a crow flew over a block of flats.’ The second, ‘nap now; when you are older you would wish to nap in the afternoon, but your busy schedule won’t allow you to.’
Returning to the topic, ‘The journal of my first death’ is a book that imperceptibly bewitches one. Page after page, one realizes, when it is already too late, that one has become a prisoner. And all one can do is to continue reading. That until the unread pages start to become fewer and fewer and one dreads the moment of goodbye. And then, salvation comes. ‘To be continued’ at the end of the novel makes the separation a little bearable.

This book that cuts one to the quick and in which things are presented just as they are, in the most possible direct language, will surely enchant you, too.

Thursday, 17 November 2016


Some of the snow has melt away. Slushes appear here and there among patches of ice or white spots covering the earth. I sit at my window and watch a gently creature saluting me. A caterpillar has found its place on a black cable and tries to continue its majestic journey until its very end.

Wednesday, 16 November 2016

Philip O Ceallaigh - And you wake up laughing

Like any other self-respectful reader, I am constantly in search of books that could spiritually enrich me. I do not look for answers when I read books, but I do wish to find moments that could be described as they had never before, common things that receive (through the author’s writing) new meanings; I search for the old in the new and the new in the old. And you wake up laughing is a book that spiritually enriches one. At a first glance, it might strike you as a simple narration. The maze-like streets of Bucharest cast a strange spell and one winds up asking onself, just like the main character, if one is courageous enough to answer the call of one's true version.
Bricks appear, here and there, throughout the narration. I let you discover the construction the book refers to. 

Sunday, 13 November 2016


Reading the book ‘The wizard king Ștefan Iordache’, I found myself swept away in a magical world where words are bricks.
Words are bricks not because they are solid and we might hurt the ones we throw them at. Words are bricks because in the world of actors they represent stability. Ștefan Iordache answers, one by one, general questions regarding life, profession, love and devotion. If one is patient enough to filter those answer inside, one may reach the bricks I mentioned before. Then, pictures and statements of those that knew him come next in the book, gently laying over the declarations of Ștefan Iordache. One finds common conclusions between the actor's statement and those of the family, former colleagues and collaborators, and that's such a great thing. It seems that those people really knew the true self of Ștefan Iordache. 
I remember the first time I learned what is an actor.
I was watching the series 'La piovra', when the poor inspector Corrado Cattani found his tragic end. I started crying and my parents could not comfort me. Dad even came with a nougat to the rescue. It didn't help. Then, mom told me: 'he is an actor, what you see is a role he plays. Well, do you think that if it was true actors would gladly go get hired in order to be shot dead?!' The firm look in her eyes convinced me, even though the image of the fallen inspector haunted me for a while.
Then, years later, on a Sunday, in the Saint Nicholas Church in Tulcea, an actor entered. He had a long white flax shirt, hanging out from his beige pants. I immediately recongnized him, insatiably staring at him. He seemed so tall that his crown touched the ceiling. And then I remembered my mom's words. He was an actor that had come down from the screen into the reality that also encircled me, and thus my mom had not lied to me.

What is an actor?, quivers inside of me  from the recital of Horațiu Mălăele. And from there I receive an answer: 'who, look, you see through me/ what is evil and what is good'.

Monday, 7 November 2016


A sound becomes alert and I realize that unless I hurry up, the poor cars waiting for the switch of lights in order to drive away will run me over. I’m on the sidewalk. Pff, that’s a release! Once more I survived. 
I slow down my pace. Enough to enjoy the scene in front of me. A white Panemar booth. A lady is waiting standing in line and smiling at the person in front of her. A schoolboy; his backpack gave him away. A blue cap keeps dropping menacingly over his eyes, but he holds tight. On his tip-toes. And with the tip of his fingers strongly grabs at the counter.
The voice of the salewoman reached over to me, too: we don’t have.
‘Then, please do give me …’.
And I can’t hear the end of his sentence anymore. But I keep thinking how nice it is to hear a little boy using the courtesy pronoun.