A Foreign Take on a Very Personal Experience – Romania under Ceaușescu’s Dictatorial Regime


The Fox Was Ever the Hunter by Herta Müller
First English Translation
by Philip Boehm on May 10, 2016
Source: I bought it

From the winner of the Nobel Prize hailed as the laureate of life under totalitarianism, a haunting early novel of surveillance and paranoia. Romania—the last months of the Ceausescu regime. Adina is a young schoolteacher. Paul is a musician. Clara works in a wire factory. Pavel is Clara’s lover. But one of them works for the secret police and is reporting on the rest of the group.” Source: Macmillan.



Perhaps I was expecting a bit much of this book in imagining it would touch my soul in a most profound and resonating way. See, The Fox Was Ever the Hunter is the story of a teacher’s life (1) during the last few year’s of Ceausescu’s communist regime (2; 1980s – place and decade of my birth), and moreover, it’s written by a Romanian, also an emigre (3). Considering that’s 3 for 3, I naively assumed this would somehow be the story of my life, the conundrum of my dual-identity explained, the nostalgia for a horrific yet clearer, more certain time expressed in all its contradictory complexity. (more…)

Bookish Adventures: A Romanian Meets Dracula… [Stepping into Dublin’s Literary Tradition]

I traveled to Dublin last week for Spring Break (read my first post on library-hopping in Dublin), and decided to make this my first literary-themed vacation when I found out I was visiting a UNESCO City of Literature. Previously, I wrote about my top 3 favorite  libraries, but I spoke too soon – for, on my last day there, I  had the absolute most amazing experience at Marsh’s Library, the first public library in Dublin established in the early 18th century.

marsh library collage

The photo in the right-hand corner is of a post-card; no cameras allowed inside!

The building is hidden beyond an alleyway of gorgeous greenery (even more beautiful in the spring), and hides in the shadow of the magnificent St. Patrick’s cathedral, which is steps away. So it doesn’t get many visitors, and the majority of those who tread up the steps decide not to pay the €3 entrance fee when they arrive. Which was a boon for me, because I got the librarians all to myself.

And WOW – just WOW. I had the pleasure of speaking with the curator of the current exhibition (The Rising Centennial Celebratory theme of course, as pretty much everything else in Dublin last week – ‘1916: Tales from the Other Side‘) as well as with two (more…)