on 5 April 2011
I soon realised this book was not about complex plots and long narratives, rather, it was giving me snapshots - of people, relationships, situations - in post-communist Romania. Not a country or time I was particular familiar with, and not a style of writing I'd experienced before. The author threw me into a candid Romanian world, with real stories, real people and very real situations. There's an education for ignorants, as you discover the struggles of people in run-down towns and poor communities, leftover bureaucracies from communist times, the history of the place, and the bleakness of the now. But my love of the book lies in the minds you're placed in: men, women, children, elderly, the vulnerable, the confident, the tortured, the unfortunate. I found the author very skilfully adapted his style with respect to new situations and intricate thoughts. Exploring different psychological themes, he provides believable, and very often familiar, characters - but telling us in completely different ways. There's bold page formats, regular prose, some of the best poetry I've read this year, and no chapter reads like the last. I'm now reading it for a second time. One of the most original books I've read in recent years.
on 24 May 2011
Bogdan Tiganov has created a wonderfully open and brutally honest account of his experiences and thoughts of Romania in his early life. The mixture of styles, layout of copy and air of dangerous unpredictability in his writing are both refreshing and compelling.
While this approach may put off some readers of a meek disposition, I found it to be reminiscent of the scrawlings of Charles Bukowski and subsequently in tune with my own subversive tendencies.
The poetry segment in the later reaches of this book offers up a wide range of insites into Tiganov's psyche. Some are suggestive of a smattering of words and subconscious emotions that have yet to pass considered thought (which can often produce the best and most emotive work). Others are collections of beauty and clarity which are indicative of a analytical and reactive mind.
As a body of work this makes for a quite a ride. Fasten your seatbelts...
on 25 January 2012
A powerful collection of short stories and poems by Romanian exile, Bogdan Tiganov, offering a penetrating insight into a world the popular media has failed to fully acknowledge. I certainly learnt something. My favourite parts were `Lost and Found' and the `Poet of a Thousand Love Poems', but I found all of it engrossing. Each part offers a new insight into what it was like to live in Romania after the Cold War and Ceau'escu's autocracy, but also what it is like to be a young exile. Happily, Tiganov's prose style is no-nonsense, but then why embellish stories that are already so strong? At times I am reminded of Carver. Very candid and very moving storytelling.
on 3 May 2011
This book offers us a unique insight into a country as it struggles with social and political change. Told through brief instances in the lives of some enjoyable characters, these are the stories history so often passes over. A great book to learn not only about the people of post-communist Romania, but the human struggle in everyday life. By throwing you into a world so different and yet so real, it forces you to think outside your comfort zone. If more books like this were published (and subsequently read), we would have a far better understanding of human history.