- Shopping Bag ( 0 items )
Twenty years ago, Romanians were shivering in their unheated apartments through another brutal winter. The country where the real-life Dracula, the 15th-century prince called Vlad the Impaler, is a national hero had been terrorized by Europe's most heartless Communist dictator. But weeks after the Berlin Wall fell, the Balkan country was being forced by history to confront the brutal and wily system in hopes of brighter days.
Alan Elsner's book "Romance Language" tells the harsh life of a beaten-down Romania slowly rising through the sudden romance of American journalist Elizabeth Graham, herself newly freed from a bad relationship, and one of the few Romanians who resists evil rather than submit. But life is rarely straightforward, especially in Romania, and this couple and this country will suffer for decades after this moment of decision.
A generation later, Graham's daughter learns she was conceived in this year of revolution. She drops out of college to look for her father in Romania. There, she finds a country growing fast like a teenager bursting through the clothes she outgrows. Skyscraper construction cranes and waves of cars compete for space on the pock-marked sidewalks with wild dogs and Gypsy beggars. Seventeen-year-old Petra also finds romance in Bucharest in an environment is everything is much more free, but where the past lingers.
Elsner's gems are the details. The stray dogs that unexpectedly rush out and bite partiers without warning. The greasy factotum who pockets his bribe almost without noticing it was offered. The confessional Communist official who dreams of Western boots because, he tells Liz, "You have no idea what it's like not to have dry feet all winter."
"Romance Language" is a different kind of romance novel that takes the reader to a little-known corner of Europe striving to catch up to its siblings in the European Union.