Bogdan Popescu


Bogdan Popescu (b. 1968, Bucharest) graduated from the Literature Faculty of Bucharest University. He made his debut in 1992, with the short story The Sinner, published in Literatorul (Literator) review. Since February 1993, he has worked as an editor for Caiete critice (Critical Notebooks), at the same time publishing prose in Literatorul and Contemporanul (The Contemporary). In 2001, his Transience Lost was published, which was awarded the Prize for Debut by the National Foundation for Science and the Arts the following year. He was awarded the Romanian Academy’s Ion Creangă Prize in 2003. His novel Whoever Falls Asleep Last has garnered extraordinary critical acclaim, and many regard it as one of the most important books to have been published in Romania in the last twenty...

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Novel, "Ego Prose" series, Polirom, 2007, 432 pages

Copyright: Polirom

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Each chapter of the novel is one of a serie of separate episodes, each of which might stand alone as a short story in its own right, but which is at the same time linked to the others by the circulation, within the book as a whole, of the same characters, places, events (described from different perspectives), and atmosphere. The novel is a realist/fantastic mélange, in which half a century in the life of a village (Saints Village) on the Danube Plain is evoked. The author is an exceptional spinner of tales, both in the realist and in the fantastic vein (villagers versus ghosts, talking horses, people who discover only from others that they are dead, curses, enchanted loves). Three narrators can be distinguished : an objective, third-person narrator, and two subjective narrators who seem to be trying to cancel each other out. These three narrative voices construct the human geography and spiritual space of this imaginary village by the Danube. The three intertwining narratives describe a host of events, major and minor, thronged by dozens of characters, in a style that is redolent of the spoken word and characterised by continual and conscious digression. Although within the preponderantly realist substance of the narrative there are be found elements of the fantastic, these are conveyed in the most matter-of-fact way. Besides stories of the children born in order to meet the quotas of Ceauşescu’s demographic decrees, and besides the local history of the village, ancient and modern, there also appear elements that relate to the mythology of the settlement and the hidden face of things. In general, the narrators’ accounts are characterised by humour, but this is more often than not employed as a screen for bitterness, sadness, and despair.
A consummate prose stylist with an astonishing knack of creating out-of-the-ordinary literary situations, the author, in just his second book, has already proven himself to be among the foremost writers in contemporary Romanian literature.


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