I'm a communist biddy!

I'm a communist biddy!

ISBN: 978-954-400-068-4
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The profound premise of Dan Lungu’s novel resides in an examination of the following paradox: how is it possible that many, even very many, people who formerly lived under a totalitarian, inhuman regime, without having enjoyed privileges or favours, can now be capable of nostalgia ? The author, through the intermediary of an old woman, who relates her life in the first person, attempts to deconstruct the mechanisms of nostalgia and to unravel this psychological enigma.

The novel is set ten years after the fall of the Ceauşescu dictatorship and shortly before the general elections. Emilia Apostoae, a pensioner, the greater part of whose life has been lived under the “people’s regime”, receives a telephone call from Alice, her daughter, an immigrant in Canada, who urges her mother “not to vote for the former communists”. This telephone call, followed by other arguments, casts Emilia into a veritable crisis of identity, from which she tries to save herself by recollecting the past and seeking to justify her nostalgia in her own eyes and those of her daughter. We thus go back to her childhood and adolescence during the time of the dictatorship ; we enter the rhythms and problems of daily life during that epoch.

The story moves at a brisk pace, the dialogue is engaging, humour shows its fangs, and mindsets are revelead by degrees. Apparently simple occurrences progressively develop their power of suggestion and range. Little by little, we are presented with a “normality” constructed by the regime and decanted in time, a normality that stirs regrets in Emilia but chills the reader. Dan Lungu does not accuse, but rather is empathetic : he describes the atrocity of an evil that has become banal, while at the same time being attentive to the dignity of his characters. His writing is rich in significant and redolent detail, but it does not even for a moment lose sight of the broader picture.

The novel continues the ‘experiment in mentality’ begun by Dan Lungu in Hens’ Heaven – the descent into a communism residual not at the political or social level but at the level of an ordinary person who has lived through that system and been profoundly marked by it. I’m a Communist Biddy ! forces you to smile, to laugh uproariously, to grow sad, but above all to interrupt your reading for a few moments and go outside in order to convince yourself that reality is otherwise, that people are otherwise. However, after such an exercise, the only thing left will be for you to conclude that the author has met the old woman who is a neighbour in your block, that he has met her daughter who has emigrated to Canada, that he has met your former workmate who used to tell political jokes while at the same time informing on you to the secret police behind your back. And then he wrote this book precisely in order to hold a mirror up to us all, in which we can see ourselves as we are and as, more often than not, we should not like to be.

“I’m a Communist Biddy !” is more than the tale of an old woman : it is a museum on paper of daily life in a totalitarian society, a compendium of political humour, a lesson about the incommensurability of human experiences and, why not, the unpredictable story of an abstention from the vote.

Genre Fiction
Size 13 х 20 cm
Pages 184 pages
Cover paperback
Language Bulgarian
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