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Radu Aldulescu

Biography

Radu Aldulescu (born 29 June 1959, Bucharest) made his literary debut in 1993 with the novel Sonata for Accordeon (Editura Albatros), which was awarded the Prize of the Union of Romanian Writers. His other novels include The Wake-going Woman’s Lover (first edition, Editura Nemira, 1996; second edition, Cartea Romaneasca, 2006); The Ridden Angel (Editura Pheonix, 1997); The History of the Heroes of a Realm of Greenness and Coolness (first edition, Editura Nemira, 1998; second edition, Cartea Romaneasca, 2007); The Prophets of Jerusalem (first edition, Editura Publicatiilor pentru Strainatate, 2004; second edition, Editura Corint, 2006; third edition, Cartea Romaneasca, 2009; fourth edition, Polirom, Top 10+); The Bride and Groom of Eternal Life (Cartea Romaneasca, 2006); and...

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Excerpt from

Novel, Cartea Romaneasca, 2012, 320 pages

Copyright: Polirom

Translation rights sold to: All rights available

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Robert the Devil, the ridden angel from the author’s previous novel, returns to his stamping grounds of thirty years before. Times have changed and people eke out a wretched living, haunted by the spectre of unemployment and bank repayments, while the gypsies’ huts have been replaced by concrete housing blocks with no water or heating. Up on the hills luxury villas with swimming pools and patios bask in the sunshine. Buses crammed with commuting labourers jostle with SVUs and gleaming limousines. Forced to abandon Bucharest with his young wife and their son, the man of almost sixty begins a new life. In a hostile, corrupt world, a world riddled with vice, Robert, Andreea, Laurian Susanu and Brindusa – a toxic quadrilateral – are drawn into a diabolic game of life and death. The Genocide Chronicles continues to record for posterity the stories of the new, turbulent times in which only the strong survive.

The Genocide Chronicles was awarded the Prize for Best Romanian Novel of 2012 at the fourth annual Colloquia of the Contemporary Romanian Novel.

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Excerpt from

Critics about

Novel, Cartea romaneasca, 2011, 336 pages

Copyright: Cartea romaneasca

Translation rights sold to: All rights available

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Robert Stan, mockingly nicknamed Robert Satan and Robert the Devil (a character whom the character in the novel saw as a kind of role model in childhood and adolescence), a bachelor with criminal tendencies caused by his difficult upbringing (he was an orphan raised by his aunts) and psycho-somatic ailments (he suffers from priapism among other things), meets a woman and, consigning himself as usual to the hands of fate, lets her take him to her native village, without her having any precise intentions regarding him. Over the course of one month of one autumn/winter at the end of the 1970s, living with the woman’s parents and younger sister, the couple (they are both aged around thirty) discover in their past shared acquaintances and connections, which seem to have led to their meeting, and embark upon an unusual sort of affair: the two sisters share Robert the Devil like a piece of bread in times of famine, in a village of peasant factory workers and spoon-carvers, which lies partly outside modern-day civilisation. The threesome struggles to survive, confronting poverty and the harshness of life in a remote village at the onset of winter. The experience changes Robert, but in the end it unleashes the evil in him, making him a sinful angel, ridden by passions. This evil seems to follow the universal evil towards which the world and the times are heading.

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Excerpt from

Critics about

Novel, "Prose" series, Cartea Romānească;, 2006, 232 pages, format 130 x 200 mm

Copyright: Polirom

Translation rights sold to: All rights available

Book presentation

The brides and grooms of immortality are humble humanity, the invisible majority that makes up the bulk of society : simple and downtrodden folk, the “sole” of society, whom, even though they are born, die, labour and eke out obscure lives among us, in the big cities, we do not see, whom no one reveals to us, of whose existence we are oblivious. The paradox of this lumpen humanity is that, although omnipresent, it is always marginalised, unable to cross society’s threshold of visibility and interest. While there is an “interesting” marginality, that of the deviants, criminals, bohemians, gangsters etc., whose “heroes” have always attracted the attention of art, the press and the humanities, Radu Aldulescu draws our attention to the second-rate people who always dwell at the margins of history, but who, like an invisible, apparently minor species, are those who perpetuate not only the human race and the stratum of society’s excluded, but also simple, basic values, the ‘alphabet’ of humanity. These are simple lives, insignificant occupations, eternal human dramas, existences outside history, which the novel, in its pursuit of the sensational and atypical, has not consistently examined since Zola.
The story of the Bride and Groom of Immortality is conceived in the form of three alternating and intersecting narrative levels, which slide towards a denouement of degradation precipitated by poverty. Vicissitudes, poverty and want are given the time, space and local colouring of Romania’s post-communist period of transition, beyond which the two main characters, the so called bride and groom of immortality, seem to glimpse a life beyond life, immortality, eternal life.

 

The three narrative levels of the novel unfold as follows :
1. The biography of Raphael Ogrinjan, raised in an orphanage, and he himself working as a teacher and supervisor in a special school for a time. After the revolution, he spends two years working as an editor for an opposition magazine, after which he remains unemployed.
2. The biography of Mirela Dogaru, from the provinces, married and divorced in Bucharest, abandoned with a child, subsequently having another child in an unmarried relationship. Her second child is born after the revolution, at a time when she is in constant search of work, so she gives the child up for adoption by a couple from abroad, in exchange for a sum of money. An illegal adoption takes place, which is in fact a sale. The sale of her own child seems to mark Mirela, just as having been an orphan seems to mark Raphael, so that he tries to scrape together a family of his own.
3. The pair’s life together is captured for an interval of around one month during a summer heat wave in the Bucharest of the 1990s. The two live together for just over a year in a oneroom flat, which they are planning to sell, because they are struggling financially and have two children to feed – their own and Mirela’s child from her first marriage. Their story is initially a love story, but descends into a kind of asceticism determined by the extreme situation to which poverty reduces them. He sends her out to beg and steal, while concomitantly developing an entire philosophy in the margins of these activities. He haunts outlying districts, as though hallucinating from hunger, and wastes time in interminable, blathering discussions ; exhaustion and hunger seem to induce mystical delirium, instilling in him the idea that he is immortal. Half in jest and half in earnest, he adopts the idea of achieving immortality through the penitence imposed by hunger and want.

 

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