Skip to content

Keywords

Articles tagged "Romania"

The Release of Mr. K

1 One fine day, Kosef J found himself released from prison. It all started with the rattling of the chains that secured the two locks on the elevator. Then the doors at the very end of the corridor were flung open. Lastly, there was some swearing followed by the creaking of the breakfast trolley. But only when the two elderly prison guards walked past Kosef J’s cell without even breaking stride did he realize that something unusual was about to happen.  In the first few...

Onomasticon

A hidden gem of Romanian literature, unknown abroad and a specialized taste at home, Mircea Horia Simionescu’s Onomasticon offers English-language readers a festival of delight. An invented dictionary of first names, its entries vacillate between brief descriptions (a gnomic utterance, an image, or sometimes only a street address) and long, more-or-less realistic narratives inspired (however distantly) by the name. While the invented reference book may remind readers of Jorge Luis...

The Agent

Hope returned that afternoon when the stranger showed her the photograph of an old house in Bessarabia. The real-estate agency’s closing had been a disaster. Marina had been trying to turn ruin into a passing dilemma for weeks, so when the new client popped out of nowhere, she took it as a sign. He was a distinguished gentleman of uncertain age. Unlike so many others, he was determined to buy. He had an old-timey air, and it seemed right to meet over tea in the airy garden of a...

The Ditch

The shovels’ dull thud mixed with the steady patter of rain. The trench deepened. Squishing through mud, the three workers vanished into its depths. By now there was nothing to see from the street but sodden earflaps and peaks of caps. Black dirt shot through the air. Smaller clods rolled on the asphalt. The rift was almost half a meter long. In the ditch, the workers unearthed a length of pipe, like the belly of an antediluvian fish. “Nice hole, huh? Go check we got what we...

The Memory of Our Land: Writing in and from Exile

In late May I attended a writers’ conference in Sozopol, Bulgaria, sponsored by the admirable Elizabeth Kostova Foundation. Sozopol lies on the Black Sea, less than two hundred miles south of Constanța, Romania—better known as the ancient city of Tomis, where Ovid spent the last part of his life in exile. (As we sat on the lush hotel patio, looking out at ruins and the water beyond, I did have the uncharitable thought that—aesthetically, at least—Ovid...

from “The Confession”

In the spring of 2005 an exorcism took place in a small, unfinished monastery in Vaslui County in northwestern Romania. Casting out demons is more common in Romania than in the West, but there was nothing typical about this rite. A single priest officiated, whereas Church policy requires three. The person undergoing the ritual is generally a willing, quiet participant, accompanied by family. On this occasion, the hallucinating and unwilling victim lay restrained on an improvised stretcher...

The Bicycle Factory

In 1966, Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceauşescu issued Decree 770, criminalizing abortion. After that, women found their own ways to end unwanted pregnancies, no matter the risk. With money and contacts, one could arrange curettage—then the procedure would be performed without anesthesia in a garage or on a kitchen table. On rare occasions, a gynecologist would assist. Most women learned to terminate a pregnancy on their own. A catheter was introduced into the uterus. Through it,...

from “The Same Way Every Day”

A plump face, an old suit with a too-long skirt, her hair permed.  Nana looked like that when she’d met us, at the beginning of the first year at the university.  Older than she would seem ten years later, when, thanks to me, she’d meet her future husband.  Was he the first?  The second?  I'll never know. When she still put her hair in rag curlers she brought from home, those evenings in the cramped room stinking of crowded bodies, of Nivea cream...

On Packing

Everything I have I carry with me. Or: everything that's mine I carry on me. I carried everything I had. It wasn't actually mine. It was either intended for a different purpose or somebody else's. The pigskin suitcase was a gramophone box. The jacket was from my father. The town coat with the velvet neckband from my grandfather. The breeches from my Uncle Edwin. The leather puttees from our neighbor, Herr Carp. The green gloves from my Auntie Fini. Only the claret silk...

Turkish


Hungarian


Romanian


mopete has read thomas mann

and so mopete has stopped in a bewitched interval of his soul, for him as if on a magic mountain where it's snowing everywhere, while many just sit and gaze out the window, boring themselves, idly elaborating theories about time. you can travel the well-worn path from the rooms on the ground floor— the dining room, for instance—to the rooms with numbers on the door where, from the terrace, you can admire the noble stillness of snow in the valley. and so mopete...

mopete and uniqueness

mopete, listening as a friend of his quotes wassily kandinsky, has a strange vision, a figment of his solitude—an ancient hypostasis, blotches without a trace of reality thrown upon the canvas on which, however, young nefa shines. young nefa: she is now very much not here—mopete will never invoke her name again. there seems to be nothing good in store for mopete. it's a desert, sort of, through which he keeps trudging on and on. right above his head, the...

deep meditation

vasilescu's father's friend has left the seaside to go to a monastery in the north. there in the mountains he wants to empty his mind of thought until it comes to entertain a notion of that provisional shadow cast by conscience, with its bitter residue of worldly time, like fruit kernels that pile up in a heap and make him count them, so that, here among the hills, he no longer can keep straight whether this evening is for real, or whether that tree elongated in shadow...

holiday pleasures

vasilescu's father's friend is playing with a beach ball. tentatively, he throws it toward the sea, gathers it in the shadow cast by his body, not minding the waves at his feet now breaking against the shingle. bandages of comfort unroll around him, around the wound of his thoughts open to the sun. after dinner he withdraws and, sitting in the shade, meditates. he reflects to himself that where this soon will have led, now that he's reached the limit, must be the sun...

the introduction of vasilescu’s father’s friend

mopete went to the theatre today. he took a girl, and vasilescu's father's friend saw him—called hello to him, too—mopete threw a meaningful, if too obvious glance at the girl beside him, and with a fixed look walked right by. the play proved to be of great interest. the girl at mopete's side—she wasn't young nefa—listened totally absorbed. mopete said to himself—now he'll have turned round to look at you—and put on an...

from “I Can’t Stand Still”: An Interview with Jáchym Topol

Weiss: What was your first time out of the country? Topol: My first time was in East Germany with my mom. She took my brother and me to the seaside there. That change—all of a sudden by the sea in the GDR instead of in Poříčí1 as usual—happened thanks to my mother's coworkers. Apparently they explained that you're supposed to go away on vacation with your kids. That ended the era of staying at home or with our grandma. Vacations at home...

Domestic Sadness

In the seed of lilies I buried you serenely we loved each other in old belfries years unravel like old lace I look for you everywhere, God but you know it's too little I buried you in November when school girls went to lunch they didn't know you were in the wagon else they would have cried the pain was overthrown into the parents like defeated floodgates would tumble of paper, your old flesh how else would it be?—yellow and sad and I loved you in the...

Come with Me to the Countryside

House under construction with dried branches, like spiders, in your scaffolding Rise to skies with serenity Until the clouds will have served as curtains And the stars: relief for lamps on balconies in the evening. Between two chestnut trees burdened like discharged patients Grew the Jewish cemetery - out of boulders; On the outskirts of town, on a hill, Crawl graves like worms. The yellow dogcart waits for us at the train station In me reeds get torn with a paper rustle...

The Birch Grove

When the winds sweep away winter's dreaming, March dresses up in flowers and grass and, on long wings, ushers in the spring. Then, without ever knowing why, trees raise their naked arms to the King of the Sky. As a reward they are bedizened with a profusion of buds that burst from an excess of love, transforming themselves into the Queen's Ladies who raise slender and graceful arms under their corner of the sky, resting their dreams and thoughts in green leaves. Just as wind...

Voice

Dilapidated wall I asked myself Today why she Didn't hang herself Lea, the blonde Lea At night with a rope She'd have dangled Like a ripe pear And the street dogs Would have barked People would have gathered To see her And they'd have shouted "Watch that she doesn't fall" I'd have Locked the gate I'd have mounted a ladder And would've taken her down Like a ripe pear Like a dead girl And would have laid her to rest In a...

A Letter to Ernesto Sábato

Author's note Ernesto Sábato's novel Abaddón el exterminador (1974) includes a dense epistolary chapter addressed to a virtual fellow writer, which begins "Dear, distant young man..." This response (published March 20, 1984, in the Romanian literary monthly Vatra) borrows ideas, themes, and even expressions from that and other novels by Ernesto Sábato, using them as references for a publicly declared solidarity. But the "open letter" to...

Meralda

Just as the sun rises every day, giving its light to the earth, so day after day, year in, year out, we Roma travel on, without knowing where we are headed but following the road that lies before us. A people of the road! Always our heart sings its sorrow in the teardrop of a song from beneath our soles, from the very earth. Grass blades turn green, trees' buds adorn themselves under the blue gaze of the sky, the world blossoms from the green of the leaf to the red of...

from The Lost Country

The Gypsy Princess and the Nightingale The truth is that, in the days of yore, the Gypsies had a country. Now they keep searching for it in vain, the wheels of their wagons wearing ruts in the roads as they travel them back and forth, looking for a hidden spot of earth somewhere under an out-of-the-way patch of sky. Only in their souls does the hope still exist that one day they will find their country. Then they will gather together from the farthest corners of the world where they...

Page 1 of 2 pages  1 2 > 

Like what you read? Help WWB bring you the best new writing from around the world.