8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
This review is from: Along the Enchanted Way: A Romanian Story (Hardcover)
I agree with the other reviewers of this book - it is a brilliant, moving account of the author's time in rural Romania. He brings the characters to life and clearly cares very deeply for the country. Although I know Bucharest much better than rural Romania, the story rings true to me. It is also, as befits a journalist, very well written. I read it rapidly and was sad to come to the end - always the signs of a good book.
The only reason I have given four stars rather than five is that - occasionally - the author is a mite patronising. He records the modernising of Romania in very one-sided terms, as if everything new is bad and everything old is good. That is perhaps an easy thing for an outsider like Blacker, who never seems to have money problems and could have returned to the UK at any moment, to say.
Given the political backdrop to the book, I would also have liked to have read a bit more of Blacker's views on Romanian politics. The lauding of pre-revolutionary peasant life needs, in my view, to be balanced by some information of the horrors of the pre-1989 regime. After all, that was the thing that stopped the modern world intruding for so long.
I recommend reading it alongside Carmen Bugan's autobiographical Burying the Typewriter: Childhood Under the Eye of the Secret Police. Bugan tells how, when the country's leader went hunting, she and other schoolchildren were forced 'to sing at the top of our lungs so that comrade Ceausescu and his friends would hear the song of the happy peasants.' (page 231)
But, overall, this is a brilliant book.