Simona Sora (born 8 July 1967) has published literary reviews, essays, and translations in cultural journals in Romania and abroad, as well as prefaces and postfaces to various works of contemporary literature. Between 2005 and 2007, she taught courses and seminars on Romanian literature and publishing theory at Bucharest University. She has translated My Creed by Carlos Fuentes (Curtea Veche, 2005) and is among the authors who contributed to the anthologies Women Fellow Travellers: Female Experience under Communism (Polirom, 2008) and First Book (ART, 2011). She has published the essays Regasirea intimitatii (The Rediscovery of Intimacy, Cartea Romaneasca, 2008) and Ultima Thule. Cetatile dacice din Muntii Orastiei (Ultima Thule. The Dacian Forts of the Orastie Mountains, Artec, Spain,...
Novel, Ego. Prose series, Polirom, 2012, 272 pages
The story of Hotel Universal begins in what was one of the main places to be in old Bucharest, and from here, via events, coincidences and above all characters, the space built by a member of a local merchant dynasty spreads its web as far as the Crimea, Bulgaria, Constantinople, Aleppo, and Damascus. Through the serial ironies of history, the Hotel Universal, the bellybutton of the world of days gone by, becomes an oriental sink, a secret headquarters for the communist secret police, a proletarian brothel, and finally a refuge for bohemian students in the years immediately following the 1989 Revolution. It is said that in the beginning, the Hotel Universal, originally called the Hagi Tudorache Inn, after one of its first owners, was located in the exact centre of Bucharest. A strange place, with countless hidden nooks and labyrinthine cellars, the building at No. 12 Gabroveni Street has led many lives: it has burned down a number of times, been rebuilt, and witnessed dramatic events recorded in the chronicles of the times. It survived the communist period, with numerous alterations, and after 1989 was converted into a student hall of residence, living a third, equally unpredictable life until it was reclaimed by its former owners and recently closed down.