Train to Trieste, by Dominica Radulescu

This book has been long waiting to be read and reviewed. It’s time finally came this week and I am excited about it. I felt a lot of affinity with the author and the more I read about Domnica Radulescu as a writer and academic, the more I admire her. I wished she had a personal website where I could leave a message, that I enjoyed her book and I am a fan, that I am going to pick up her next book, “Black Sea Twilight” as soon as it comes out, hopefully now in August, as expected. But, well, I am going to write all of that on my own website, what can an excited reader do?

There are many things I liked about this book. I enjoyed the writing. I liked how the train to Trieste didn’t really go to Trieste. I enjoyed the picturesque images of Romania, which didn’t seem as bleak even during hard communist times. I was absorbed into those images of the cool mountains and the linden-smelling Bucharest streets. I enjoyed all the symbolism of the ancestry stories braided into the main story. I could relate to a lot of things, from the communist fear to the immigrant loss.

The main character, although profound and complex, lacked emotion, however. That’s what I thought. She didn’t seem to feel anything. Tragic things happen all around her, and while she acts crazy at times and is tormented by nightmares, all is reported in a sort of detached, almost journalistic style. I could not feel close to her. She is detached from everything and everyone. Another aspect of the book that I was not thrilled with was the monotonous rhythm of the writing. It is interesting in the beginning, but later in the book it feels obsessive and a little tiring.

I thought it was a captivating read, one that could have easily become too boring and too dark and yet it didn’t–it stayed fresh and quite energetic to the end, which I found rather perfect. It is a beautiful and very honest book and in the end that is all that matters.

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