Dan Alexe


Dan Alexe is a writer, filmmaker, linguist and traveller. He has published plays (The World as Glitz and Burden, with Luca Piţu, Opera Magna, 2012), short stories (Scent of a Bitter Redhead, Humanitas, 2014; In the Rabbi G. Point, Polirom, 2016), a novel (Perfumed Panthers, Polirom, 2017) and cultural essays (Dacopathy and Other Romanian Aberrations, Humanitas, 2015). His documentary films have won a number of major international awards. They include Ghazavat (1992, the first documentary movie ever made about Chechnya), Howling for God (1997, about life in the Sufi mystic brotherhoods), and Cabal in Kabul (2007, about today’s Afghanistan viewed through the enmity between Kabul’s last two Jews). Howling for God received the FIPRESCI Prize at the IDFA Festival in...

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novel, EGO. PROSE series, Polirom, 2017, 304 pages

Copyright: Polirom

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Book presentation

The narrator and his lover, both Romanian, travel across Putin’s Russia from Moscow down the Volga to the Caspian Sea and then through Dagestan, Chechnya and Georgia to the Black Sea, following in the footsteps of Alexandre Dumas. The narrator is trying to make a documentary film that will reconstruct Dumas’s little-known journey through Russia and the Caucasus; his travelling companion Eva, a conceptual artist from Bucharest, brings along her uninhibited sexuality and avidity for every conceivable erotic experiment.

Perfumed Panthers is a baroque road novel set against the geopolitical backdrop of Russia and the Caucasus, reeking of sex and death, and brimming with cultural, historical and ethnographic details. The novel takes us through Kalmykia of the Buddhist Mongols, it makes us smell the oily spells of the Caspian Sea, and it starkly depicts the atrocities committed by the pro-Moscow Grozny government against the Islamists of the Chechen mountains. In the end, the delicate fabric of the couple does not survive the ordeal of the journey, nor the rivers of alcohol that the narrator and his lover have to guzzle with their protectors from the Chechen mafia.


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