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Augustin Buzura

Biography

Augustin Buzura (born 22 September 1938, Berinţa, Maramureş county) made his literary debut in 1963, with a volume of short stories entitled Capul Bunei Speranţe (The Cape of Good Hope). In 1967, he published his second volume of short stories, De ce zboară vulturul (Why the Eagle Flies), before embarking on a series of major novels. His novels Absenţii (The Absent Ones) (1970), Feţele tăcerii (The Facets of Silence) (1974), Orgolii (Vainglories) (1977), Vocile nopţii (The Voices of Night) (1980), Refugii (Refuges) (1984) and Drumul cenuşii (The Road of Ash) (1992) defied communist censorship and brought the author celebrity, sympathy and solidarity on the part of his readers. Recviem pentru nebuni şi bestii (Requiem for Madmen and Beasts)...

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Excerpt from

Novel, “Fiction Ltd.” series, Polirom Publishing House, 2009, 408 pages

Copyright: Polirom

Translation rights sold to: All rights available

Book presentation

Although simple at first sight, the subject matter of the novel revolves around the dialogues between its two protagonists : Dr Cassian Robert, who has abandoned his old folks’ home in order to retreat to an alpine cabin near a disused meteorological observation post, and Mara, his neighbour, who is living in the old weather station. These dialogues form wide ranging stories, drawn from the recollections of Cassian and Mara, and are shot through with an epic thread that lends the book savour and suspense.

Doctor Cassian Robert, persistently visited by Mara, who is the daughter of Theodora, a woman he loved in his youth, discovers in this young woman a confidante, in spite of his initial reserve. On the one hand, Mara acts as a trigger for the doctor’s reminiscences. On the other hand, the young woman, who, after the death of her father, has been leading a lonely life in a disused weather station, has plenty of stories of her own to stir the doctor’s interest.

Their “game” of interwoven stories becomes erotically charged, but it is precisely the older protagonist who refuses to be caught, sometimes having to resort to inventing puerile or even embarrassing excuses in order to rebuff the young woman’s advances. This relationship, which in the end leads to erotic consummation, conjoins the characters’ personal stories, endow¬ing them with joint meaning and thereby expositing two different types of loneliness, which together constitute the major theme of the book. This theme is that of waiting – waiting for the end, from the old man’s viewpoint, and waiting for a moment that might initiate a different kind of existence, from that of the young Mara.

 

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