4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Childhood is Another Land,
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This review is from: Burying the Typewriter: Childhood Under the Eye of the Secret Police (Kindle Edition)
There is so much more to this lovely book than "life under Communism" - it deserves to pull in other readers too.
YOU MIGHT NOW WANT TO READ THE BOOK - IF YOU HAVE NOT ALREADY DONE SO - LEST WHAT FOLLOWS SPOILS YOUR ENJOYMENT. THEN COME BACK AND SEE IF YOU AGREE.
The author was born in 1970 and lived in Romania until 1989, when her family was allowed to emigrate to America. Her father was a committed opponent of the Ceausescu regime and suffered for it - as did his family. However, only long afterwards did she read the files of the Securitate [secret police] that detailed what was happening in her earlier childhood. She was too young herself to even be conscious of, still less understand, this. Consequently, memories of this time are much less troubled. She provides a magical account of life in a small town in a poor country. She tells stories of her grandparents, her neighbours, her pets, nature. She relates folk beliefs and folk practices. She captures childhood fantasies and imaginings.
Then her father goes back to prison in 1983. The author is now her in her teens, her mother has another sickly baby. Carmen has to take on many more family responsibilities. The harassment of the state is relentless. She cannot but be aware of it, as the later chapters make clear. In the end, exile is the only option. Her description of the last few weeks in her homeland is so well written and touching.
Many years later she goes back to Romania. The country has changed, of course, some people she traces, others she cannot find. But it is clear that there is a world she can never recover and to which she can never return, from which she will forever be an exile - her childhood.
Carmen Bugan writes beautifully. Her memoir is beguiling. I would recommend this book to those in Europe who are so hostile to Romania and its people. Both are special as a poet such as this reveals.