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Radu Pavel Gheo

Biography

Radu Pavel Gheo was born in Oraviţa in 1969. He graduated from the Western University in Timişoara with a Degree in Literature in 1994 and subsequently worked as a teacher and as an editor for radio and magazines in Jassy and Timişoara. In 2001, he emigrated to the United States, but returned to Romania after one year. He describes his experiences in America in Adio, Adio, My Countrie, My Country, published by Polirom in 2003, with a second edition in 2004. His other books include The Valley of the Clear Blue Sky (Athena, 1997), About Science Fiction (Omnibooks, 2001; Tritonic, 2007), Romanians is Clever (Polirom, 2004, 2005), Fairia—A Faraway World (Polirom, 2004), Sex and the Explanatory Dictionary (Polirom, 2005), Lady Fellow Travellers. The Female Experience under...

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Excerpt from

Critics about

Novel, "Ego Prose" series, Polirom, 2010, 496 pages

Copyright: Polirom

Translation rights sold to: All rights available

Book presentation

THE NOVEL DESCRIBES the fate of four childhood friends, who experience days of enchanted happiness in their grandparents’ village in the Banat and plan to cross the border clandestinely one night during the Easter of 1986. One of them stays behind and the other three are captured by border guards. The consequences are dire and will scar them forever. Two of the friends, Leo and Cristina, make another attempt to cross the frontier and this time succeed, later settling in Los Angeles. The third, Marius, follows them after the 1989 Revolution. Left behind again, Paul becomes an English teacher and writer in Jassy, where he studied at university. Poor and naïve, Paul places all his hopes in a literary scholarship offered by the enigmatic Mr Dunkelman. At the same time, his friend Marius, now a U.S. citizen, returns to Romania, seeking to take revenge on the border guards from that fateful night in 1986. Marius’ constant companion is a pornographic videocassette, Wild Goose Chase, which has a significant connexion with his life in America. Dunkelman and Marius arrive in Romania at the same time. They meet, just as Marius and Paul will meet again, for the world in which the four friends move is governed by laws other than that of chance. In this way, Paul will find out about what became of his three friends in America (Leo becomes a drug dealer, Cristina a pornographic film actress) and about the tragic death of their friendship. Marius will have his revenge, but he will not elude fate.

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Excerpt from

Critics about

Novel, "Ego Prose" series, Polirom, 2004, 248 pages

Copyright: Polirom

Translation rights sold to: All rights available

Book presentation

The story begins in a medieval world with fairy-tale elements. One night, at a table from a tavern, young Harald, a king’s son, tells his companions a strange story from his childhood: the story of the Iron-Man-with-Ivory-Skin. His story proves to be an account of a spatial expedition, which arrived there from Earth long time ago. Actually, Harald reproduces a story he has learnt by heart. The real story-teller was a man from Earth, Ronnie Peterschneitt, the former commanding officer of an expedition that visited a strange planet, Fairia. Moreover, that strange planet is in fact Harald’s world.
In Ronnie’s story the spaceship Skylark mysteriously breaks down when it reaches Fairia’s orbit. The members of the crew descend on that planet. To their surprise, they find themselves in a world of the childhood’s fairy-tales and myths. Their first meeting with an inhabitant of the planet is mind-boggling: they watch a fight between a kind of Prince Charming, called Brave Soul, and a talking dragon with three heads. Brave Soul, the classic hero, is rather stupid and conformist, though his bravery and honesty are self-evident. The hero starts a quest for the water of life, the cure for Princess Angelina, who has been the victim of a spell. Here another problem arises: Princess Angelina is ugly, stupid and fat. But Brave Soul, one of the numerous sons of a king, needs a dowry and a kingdom.
The ten people from the spaceship Skylark accompany the prince on the road to the End of the World, where he can find the water of life. An old centaur, Hippokalos, joins them. The ironic and malicious Vickyia, a beautiful witch who turns one of the astronauts into a turtle, is watching closely their adventurous and risky travel.
Yet, the story of the travel is crisscrossed by a parallel reality. From time to time, Ronnie Peterschneitt finds himself alone in a desert, terrified by the suspicion that his companions are dead, while all their adventures are actually the last pulses of his agonizing brain. In that strange world, the commander meets Upturned Trough, a medieval-like knight whose train of speech is reversed, as a tape played in the wrong direction. Eventually, after a series of adventures and accidents, the astronauts return to Earth in a miraculous manner, that deepens the mystery of the Skylark expedition.

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