Ioana Bradea was born in Bistriţa in 1975. She made her literary debut in 2004, with the novel Băgău (Plug), which povoked enthusiasm and controversy among the critics in equal measure. It was one of the first post-communist novels to include uninhibited language and ‘strong’ subject matter, which melded to produce a genuinely successful literary work. The novel was also very well received by the reading public. In the year after its publication, it was awarded the Union of Romanian Writers Prize for Literary Debut. Scotch is Ioana Bradea’s second novel. Once again, the literary formula she chooses is startlingly fresh, this time thanks to the poetic language in which the author captures the sombre reality of post-communist...
Novel, "Ego Prose" series, Polirom, 2010, 184 pages
SCOTCH PAINTS A DESOLATE picture of post-industrial decay in a provincial town: abandoned industrial plants, the workers at and ‘capitalist’ owners of the few factories saved from closure, scrap iron and concrete, rotgut, and apartment blocks for unmarried labourers. Against this backdrop there takes shape a fragile love affair between a young engineer, trapped in the dead-end of the Special Alloys Factory, and the director’s secretary, who traverses this desolate landscape on roller-skates, with a copy of Marcus Aurelius tucked away in her rucksack. Above it all floats the memory of Ila, a peasant who dies in his bed, to the sound of a fiddle, and a barely divinable nostalgia for a vanished rural world. Now violently, now diffusely, death takes its toll on characters and fading friendships. Ioana Bradea’s novel is also an elegy on the ruins of the political system from before 1989, a strange, musical poem about factories and plants in their death throes, about cranes and machinery with complicated technical names, now defunct in the brave new world of contemporary Romania.