miruna

The latest addition to my website is Bogdan Suceavă‘s Miruna, o poveste (Miruna, A Tale). Suceavă spent much of his childhood with his grandparents in the remote Romanian countryside and this novel is based on that experience. The narrator, Trajan, and his sister, Miruna, listen to the tales that their grandfather, Niculae,tells them. Many of the tales are about Constantine, Niculae’s father. Constantine came home from fighting in the Russo-Turkish War of 1877-78, which led to Romanian gaining its independence. Returning soldiers were granted land, taken from the monasteries. Constantine, was given a remote , rocky and barren plot but, through dint of hard work and with help of some magic, manages to tame the land. We learn of the old witch, Fira, who is also the local gossip, how Constantine conquers the ferocious wolves and lynxes, discovers water on his apparently completely dry land with magic but how the witchcraft is bitterly opposed by the priest. We hear of the local bandit, Constantine’s magical journey to Greece and his return, how he persuaded the unwilling Domnica to become his wife and how the Germans are outwitted. It is a wonderful story, whether you believe in magic or not and shows a Romania very different from the urban Romania we may may be more familiar with from other Romanian novels.