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Posted April 1, 2011
Interesting writing style!
This book caught my attention right away when I saw it mentioned on the Barnes and Noble Fictional General Discussion forum. Since I was born in Romania, the name of the author caught my attention right away since there are not that many books written by Romanian authors. At first, it took me a while to fully get engaged into the story. Domnica Radulescu has a very interesting writing style which I got to appreciate more towards the end. Her highly descriptive way of presenting things and her way of constantly summarizing what she had previously wrote, in developing the story, made it a little difficult to follow in the beginning but the more I read the more I got to appreciate it. The book follows the story of Mona, a girl born in Bucharest during the long period of Communism. She describes her childhood, her family's history as well as the hardships they have to go through to survive during that period of time in Romania when the majority of the population was experiencing rationed food,electricity shortages together with severe oppressions from the Securitate. People were given the impression that they were being watched night and day and no communication with outside nations was permissible. The slightest sign of misconduct would have caused them to arrest those charged with innapropriate behavior and throw them in jail or even kill them. In the midst of all this, Mona falls in love with Mihai, a Romanian man that lives in another city to which she travels every summer to spend time with him. Unfortunately, the general atmosphere in the country creates so much suspicion and confusion among the population that people don't know anymore who they are able to trust and who works for the Security Police. Her parents decide that her only way to freedom is to leave the country somehow and make a new life for herself in a democratic country. Throughout the book, Mona describes her life and her challenges and experiences as she travels to America in hope of a better life, without being able however to forget where she came from and what she left behind. I found it to be a very touching story and a very realistic presentation of the way things used to be during the last year of Communism in Romania. It also emphasizes strong family ties and the connection and joint responsability the Romanian population adopted in those hard years to ensure its survival. I highly recommend it to anyone who wants to get a better understanding of how things used to be in that part of the world during those times. This book provides a historical insight without losing its emotional touch.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted March 11, 2011
Great insight into Romania 1970s-1980s.
Although I found the author's writing style a little hard to read, I still found myself being pulled into Mona's story. Probably like most of us out there, I've read very little fiction about Romania so I really have no baseline to compare it to. The author is very knowledgeable about Romania during the 1970s through 1980s and I found the story very informative. Although another reviewer has panned this book stating the story was more of a person's of priviledge (unlike most Romanians during that time) I don't think it should be panned because of this. It was the life the author knew, and if this life is one of priviledge,it certainly shows how bad things were in Romania.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
The book was rating a strong 4 stars for me. Unfortunately there were so many dream sequences that by the time I was about 2/3 of the way through it became really irritating and I would say to myself, "Really? Again?."
Also, <spoiler alert> I felt there was this big build up towards the ending which ended with a mild thud--sort of like a pebble hitting a dirt path.
Posted March 22, 2009
This book is a nice addition to the many historical fiction books that have become so popular.
Train to Trieste follows the life of Mona Manoliu starting when she is a teenager in Romania during the reign of dictator Nicolae Ceausescu. Times are hard, there are food shortages and restrictions everywhere, and people live in fear and suspicion. However, life goes on, and in the midst of the fear and deprivation Mona falls in love for the first time with a mysterious boy named Mihai. When Mona's family begins to die in improbable accidents she flees Romania for safety.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Years later she is living in America, trying to forget her past and build a new life. But she can't forget Mihai, her first love, and the summer she left him behind. She returns to Romania determined to learn the truth of what happened the summer she left.
This book is a nice addition to the many historical fiction books that have become so popular. It gives a clear accounting of what happened in Romania in the late 1970's under Ceausescu and how it affected the lives of ordinary people. The story is beautifully and poetically written. Unfortunately the plot is a bit slow and its easy to lose interest in Mona's plight. I listened to this book on audio, read by Yelena Shmulenson and her thick Yiddish accent definitely adds a lot of atmosphere to the story.
Posted October 26, 2008
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