Vasile Baghiu (born 1965, Borlesti, Neamt County) is a poet, prose writer, and essayist. He is a member of the Union of Romanian Writers and the Romanian PEN Club. A psychologist in the field of promoting healthy living, his experiences have had an impact on his writing, particularly the seven-year period when he worked in a tuberculosis sanatorium. The inventor of the poetic concept of “chimaerism”, he has published seven volumes of poetry (including The Taste of Alienation, 1994, The Manner, 1998, and Depression, 2012), a collection of short prose (Departure Point, 2004), two novels (The Hospice, 2006, which was awarded the Prize of the Jassy Union of Writers, and Plans in Life, 2012), as well as numerous literary reviews and essays in various journals. In 1998, he published...
Novel, Fiction LTD series, Polirom, 2012, 312 pages
The largely autobiographical Plans in Life tells the story of a Romanian family, spanning the period from the Second World War to the present day, including episodes set in Soviet prisoner-of-war camps, during the Ceausescu dictatorship and the chaotic transition period after 1989, and also in the present-day, rapidly changing West. All these episodes are viewed through the eyes of the main character, Vili Barna, a writer and researcher who emigrates from Romania to Germany in the 2000s after obtaining a scholarship. At the age of forty-five, he contemplates his life with unruffled calm. Gliding back and forth in time, he experiences past and present simultaneously, not only his own past and present, but also that of the father he lost as a child, whom he now rediscovers with the help of the harrowing diary of his time as a prisoner of war in the USSR, which Vili transcribes on to his computer during his residences in the West. Via an exchange of e-mails that he carries on during his solitude in the West, Vili’s absurd and often darkly humorous experiences also relate to the life of Romanian emigrants in Italy and Canada, with all its frustrations and disappointments. Before and after 1989, Vili experiences all the anxieties of an honest Romanian intellectual who dreams of reaching the other shore after the Ceausescu dictatorship. After all the political and social adversities of the 1990s, after all the betrayals and desertions around him, he will concentrate on his family and the immediate future. His plans are aimed at a life abroad, where the goodwill of strangers might give him at least a crumb of normality from time to time. Written in the third person, Plans in Life also discreetly probes the problem of contemporary man’s identity and the contrasts he has to cope with. This is the problem with the past, which you cannot simply leave behind at home like an object. The past is part of you and helps you to reconcile yourself and the rest of the world. This reconciliation is precisely what the main character is attempting to achieve in the numerous situations – whether remembered or experienced directly – in which he is caught up in the novel. A heroic, but not always successful endeavour.