Magazine article World Literature Today

Miruna, a Tale

Magazine article World Literature Today

Miruna, a Tale

Article excerpt

Bogdan Suceava. Miruna, a Tale. Alistair Ian Blythe, tr. Prague. Twisted Spoon Press. 2014. isbn 9788086264448

Anyone raised even in the vestigial remnants of an oral culture will respond at some level to the tales in this eloquently told and moving novel, for they show the members of the Bercea family, as other tales tell other families, "who we are."

They are-the narrator, Trajan, and his sister Miruna-the great-grandchildren of Constantine Bercea, who fought in the Romanian war of independence in the late nineteenth century and earned, through his service, the first land to be owned by anyone in his family. He also brought the first clock to the village of Evil Vale, paid for the first newspaper subscription, and imposed his will on land and beasts, ignoring the other villagers who lived "in thrall to the forest," dependent on spells to protect them and on stories of fays to explain madness and disorientation.

Although Constantine is clearly a transitional figure from the unchanging past to a world caught in print and technology, he also becomes a kind of mythic figure in the stories told by his son, Niculae, who does not soften events or endings the way that storytellers for children often do. …

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