jump to navigation

Waiting Room Romania 11/01/2010

Posted by allthingsro in translations.
Tags: ,
add a comment

This extract from an interview with the now deceased writer Gheorghe Craciun summed up Romania in 2005 for me.

O. SIMONCA: In the fragment from the book [‘Pupa russa’ (‘Russian doll’), Editura Humanitas, 2004] where you recount the meeting with the Great Novelist, you say, at a certain point, “I was born into a large waiting room in which people’s ashen faces should become bright and do not, dirty words should become clean and do not, in which the beliefs of all those waiting should become true and do not.” Why are we in a waiting room?

Gheoghe CRACIUN: This impression of mine increases every day. Just recently, two weeks ago, I was in Stuttgart for a few days where I presented a German translation of Ioan Flora’s poetry. I went there to provide a critical portrait of one of my best friends and one of the most important Romanian poets today, who unfortunately died prematurely. I had the time to walk through the town, to feel the atmosphere there. Stuttgart revived me. Every time I leave Romania, even if it’s no further than Hungary, I feel like a completely different man. I enter into a relaxed world in which I no longer read despair, nor troubles, nor frustrations on people’s faces. Of course, we could say that the West has created a mask physiognomy, that over there the individual’s inner life is hidden behind an image with which he marches around. It’s like that and it’s not like that, because your first impressions of people are determined by the way in which they walk the streets. Personally, in Bucharest, which is one of the most densely populated cities in Europe, I’m really disturbed by the human hustling and bustling which you come across everywhere. I understand the despair of these people, their haste to arrive at a point which is impossible to obtain. They want a different life, they have the feeling that they don’t have enough time for this. After 15 years of post-communism, on the level of lives of individuals and the psychology of everyday life, things have not changed at all.

O.S.: Are we still in a waiting room?

Gh.C.: Yes, we still are.

Translation of an interview in Observator Cultural No. 32, 6-12 November 2005.