Malinka's Studio

A crazy girl, in a small studio :) :) :)

Ivan – Mircea Eliade

This short story has impressed me very much! In just a few pages Mircea Eliade mixed the reality and dream so well, that I was very difficult to understand which one is which. ( I have to add here that Mircea Eliade is one of the best Romanian writers!).
The action starts in the open field, after the fight and when the Romanian soldiers were finding little resistance. Some Romanian soldiers find a wounded Soviet one. The Romanian superstitions state that if a dying man is blessing you, Death avoids you. The Romanian soldiers decide to take him with them, so that he would bless them. Unfortunately, none of them knew Russian language and they were trying to explain him in French and German. The Soviet soldier dies, they bury him and to continue their road home. In this moment the action shifts in another place and time. One of the soldiers, Darie, is in a home in Iasi, with his fiance Laura, doctor Procopie and he is telling the story of the soldier they named Ivan. This story line is mixed with the on from the field and we wake up with the soldiers again! At some point, Darie is speaking with Ivan about his life philosophies and oddly enough, Ivan seems to know and understand all of that. Later I realized that Darie was injured and all this was a dream. Fortunately, his colleagues don’t leave him behind and decide to carry him. The action is in a corn field that doesn’t seem to ever end. The finale is also mysterious, Darie is still hallucinating because his wound. He goes towards a bridge of light but remembers that he didn’t bless his colleagues, comes back but can’t find them anymore.

The author starts the novel with a pragmatic subject (war and survival fight) and then includes philosophical details, symbols and tries to prove that everything is relative: life, death, love…

Here goes the version for my Romanian readers out there! 🙂

Aceasta nuvela m-a impresionat destul de mult! In citeva pagini Eliade a impletit realitatea cu visul atit de bine ca este greu de descoperit unde este vis si unde fapt real. La inceput actiunea se desfasoara in cimp dupa o lupta cind soldatii romani intilneau putina rezistenta. Niste soldati romani gasesc un soldat rus ranit. Dupa superstitiile populare, daca un om pe cale sa moara te binecuvinteaza, moartea te ocoleste. Soldatii romani se hotarasc sa-l care cu ei pe rus ca acesta sa-i binecuvinteze. Din pacate, nici unul din ei nu vorbeste limba rusa si incearca sa-i explice in franceza si in germana. Soldatul sovietic moare iar romanii hotarasc sa-l ingroape si sa continue drumul spre casa. In acest moment actiunea se transfera in alt timp si spatiu. Unul din soldati, Darie, este in intr-un salon din Iaşi, în compania logodnicei Laura, a doctorului Procopie  si povesteste tuturor despre soldatul rus pe care ei l-au numit Ivan. Firul narativ se impleteste cu poveste de pe front si se pare ca iarasi sintem linga soldati! La un moment dat, Darie discuta si se plimba cu Ivan insusi si isi da seama ca ei se cunosc din alte timpuri. Ivan cunoste si intelege filosofia de viata a lui Darie, (despre evidenţele mutual contradictorii) ceea ce ii pare foarte ciudat lui Darie. Mai tirziu am inteles ca Darie era ranit si toate astea sint doar un vis. Din fericire, soldatii sint foarte fideli si nu il lasa in urma. Toata actiunea se desfasoara intr-un lan de porumb ce pare sa nu mai aiba sfirsit. Finalul este misterios, Darie mai are vedenii din cauza ranii. Se indreapta spre lumina dar isi aminteste ca nu si-a binecuvintat colegii si se intoarce inapoi dar nu-i mai gaseste.

Autorul porneste de la ceva foarte pragmatic (razboiul si lupta pentru supravietuire) ca mai apoi sa includa accente filozofoce, simboluri si sa demonstreze ca absolut totul este relativ: viata, moartea, dragostea…

August 6, 2012 Posted by | Book reviews, Recenzii carti | , , , , , , | 3 Comments

The Book Thief – Markus Zusak

Reading this book has been a real challenge for me, as it is the darkest one that I have ever read! The story is filled with very strong and dark symbols: war, punishment, gravedigger, Nazi Germany, fights, persecutions and death. Of course the story has a few optimistic and funny parts, but all in all it is a strong and sad book, meant to change your perspective on life.  The author is Markus Zusak, an Australian writer.

The main story is around young Liesel and her foster family. Her past is considered dangerous so she and her brother are sent to a adoptive family. Here Liesel learns how to read, learns to listen the accordion, learns to steal books and learns to hide a Jew.  She is very young when the Nazy system is being established and doesn’t understand many of its aspects. At the start of the book we realize that she witnesses the death of her brother. To cope with that, she steals a book The Grave Digger’s Handbook, after it is dropped in the snow by a gravedigger’s apprentice. She keeps it as a final memento of her brother. With great efforts and with the help of her foster father – Hans, she manages to read this book and many others, that she also steals. This is what allows the narrator to call her – The Book Thief. Really late in the book I understood that the author is Death itself, and of course the shock was very big! Not only this book has an original writing style but the narrator is Death! All the characters are powerless in from of Death and in front of this new system which seems to make some people crazy and some other people very vulnerable. At the same time, Death seems like a nice guy, it tells its impression and its “feelings on each taken soul”.
Another important moment of the book is hiding Max – a young Jew. His father saved Hans’s life and they decided to save Max’s, by hiding him in the basement. The life story of this young street fist fighter is very tragic. After the war, Max is liberated and returns to find Liesel, where they share an emotional reunion.

Liesel manages to make friends and one of the most positive views of the book are the fragments which describe her and friendship with Rudy Steiner who often asks Liesel for kisses, only to be rejected each time. She also interacts with the mayor’s wife – Ilsa Hermann. She is the one who incuraged Liesel to write and to read. We can say that she contributed to Liesel’s survival. The final is actually revealed much earlier in the book, as the author writes that he doesn’t like mysteries, so the end of the story should not be a mystery. Nevertheless, the grand finale is truly grand and very dramatic. By a coincidence and at the advise of Ilsa, Liesel stays late at night is in the basement when her street in being  bombed. She was busy writing her won black book. Everybody that she knows is a victim and she is the only one alive.

Many years later, Death comes for Liesel in Sydney, and reveals to her that he has carried her little black book with him for all these years. Astonished, she asks, “could you understand it?”, to which he simply notes, “I am haunted by humans.”.

This book has really impressed me and it seems that not only me. It has received 12 awards in 3 years!!! I highly recommend it, again, it is a real challenge!

July 31, 2012 Posted by | Book reviews | , , , , , | 3 Comments


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