Doina Jela

Excerpt from

Critics about

Novel, Fiction LTD series, Polirom, 2015, 536 pages

Copyright: Polirom

Translation rights sold to: All rights available

Critics about

Villa Margareta is proof that Doina Jela is a novelist of vast breadth, who dares to tell a story, set against the backdrop of the events experienced by Romanians since 1989, about the need to be authentic and accept ourselves as we are, a story of fear and courage, idealism and compromises, guilt and Dostoevskian atonement. The descriptions of the Dobrudja landscape are highly successful, the villages and natural setting of the seaside and delta, as well as the central points of the space in which the interlocking stories unfold, such as the Villa Margareta, a disused border guard’s hut, which becomes symbolic as a space of truth, a refuge and hideaway, in which the traps laid by the narrative finally snap shut.” 

(Adriana BITTEL)

“The documentary value of the confessions, the agglomeration of concrete data, and the recording of events that provide material for a fresco of society are not mere memoirs, but true samples of authenticity, potentiating the aesthetic effect. At the same time, the insertion of the true to life, such as passages from a Securitate file, letters, a manuscript, photographs, a page from a dictionary, and e mails, create an indissoluble link between the fictional and non fictional substance of the book, postulating its postmodern nature, alongside fragments, flashbacks, interruptions, and repetitions of the same scene from different perspectives.” 

(Aurica VICOVAN)

“Doina Jela’s novel is a novel of the generation born in the 1950s, who spent the first decades of their lives under communism, who experience a brief thaw when they were students, and who were on the verge of middle age when the 1989 Revolution came, a threshold where change is still possible, when destiny does not yet seem to have finished its work. The novel closes with that moment, experienced as something unique, when freedom offers the unhoped for opportunity to take the moment in your hands and make of it what had not thitherto been possible. Obviously, depending on the events that have made each separate character survive or die, and depending on their past, which has shaped or distorted them, which has or has not given them a chance.” 

(Smaranda VULTUR)


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