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.