Dan Sociu


Dan Sociu (b. 1978) is a member of the younger generation of poets, the so-called “2000 Generation,” a movement sometimes called “Miserabilism” by Romanian literary critics. His published works include : well-stopped jars, cash for one more week (poems, 2002), brother louse (poems, 1st edition : 2004 ; 2nd edition: 2007), eXcessive songs (poems, Cartea Românească, 2005), Urbancholia (novel, Polirom, 2008). A selection of his poems has been translated for German and English anthologies : New European Poets (Graywolf, 2008), No Longer Poetry (Heaventree Press, ed. David Morley, 2007), hat jemand etwas gefragt (Versus, 2003), Ozone Friendly (T Publishing House, 2002), Club 8 Poetry (T Publishing House, 2001). Translations of his poems and articles have also...

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Novel, "Ego Prose" series, Polirom, 2008, 208 pages

Copyright: Polirom

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In the North of Romania, in the region known as Moldavia, lies the town of Botoşani, famous as the birthplace of many of Romania’s most illustrious cultural figures, including national poet Mihai Eminescu, composer George Enesco, historian Nicolae Iorga, philosopher Lucien Goldmann, and avant-garde writer Isidore Isou, inventor of “lettrism.” The town is equally notorious for Romania’s highest levels of poverty, alcoholism, infant mortality, domestic violence, and general hopelessness. Dan Sociu, the hero of the novel, is a natural product of his environment. A virgin poet who, at the age of twenty-seven, has never ventured beyond Botoşani, he lives with his mother and for years on end has spent every day in the same way : reading, drinking, watching television, masturbating, and following his mother’s every gesture, mutely petitioning her for the vaguest hint of affection. Sometimes he does all these at once. He earns meagre pocket money by inventing tales for True Stories magazine, whose readership consists mainly of single, suburban women, for whom the most exciting event of the year is the annual pilgrimage to the monasteries of northern Moldavia.
One night our hero meets two people who will once and for all fling him out of his daily routine : Derrin, an American anti-terrorist agent working for the CIA, dispatched to Romania to survey terrain intended for a military base near the River Prut ; and Miss H, a twenty-six-year-old Romanian journalist with whom Derrin has madly and recklessly fallen in love. To occupy his mistress while he ventures to far-flung dusty corners of the world on one or another dubious mission, the American agent buys a modest television station and local newspaper, of which he puts her in charge. And to help the femme fatale run these enterprises, they recruit our hero as her assistant, an event that transforms his life into a story stranger and more thrilling than anything he has ever seen on television. Naturally, Miss H becomes the object of Dan’s starved affections at very first sight.
Conceived in the form of a letter to French writer Pascal Bruckner, Urbancholia is a comic and bitter story about an innocent belatedly coming of age in country whose citizens love neither themselves nor each other, let alone their children.


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