Nowadays I rarely read books by Romanian authors anymore. Not to say that there aren’t any good ones; that would be a lie, but I think I still have some traumas from my school years when we studied a lot of long, boring Romanian books that kind of put me off Romanian literature. But from time to time, I like to peruse the native section of bookstores and I almost always find little gems just like the one I’m writing about right now.
“So may the grass grow on us” – an introduction
The novel is a coming of age story of six young boys that live on the outskirts of Craiova, spending their time catching birds and selling them illegally in Italy. The two main characters of the story are Pisica, who narrates the story and his older best friend, Edi, who Pisica sees as more of a father figure.
Pisica is a shy character but is always protected by Edi, until the later leaves to go to work and to follow his girlfriend to Italy. Pisica is destroyed by the departure of his best friend and protector and he never really forgives him for leaving. After a while, Edi, who had a promising football career ahead of him, returns to Craiova, with an injured leg, following yet again his girlfriend, that gets committed to a mental hospital, although nobody knows why (people suspect it has something to do with her being forced to prostitute herself and getting a drug addiction, but it is never confirmed).
The general feeling of the book is one known and lived by a big part of young people in Romania, in some way. Growing up in an insecure environment, where you can’t count on anyone to really help you: the authorities are a joke, members of the family are mostly in Italy or Spain for work, the school system can’t offer you anything palpable for your future and your so called friends can’t really help you because they are just as fucked up as you.
This badger’s opinion is that this book is worth a read just to get a feel of unfortunately the lives of many young people in Romania, forced to grow up before their time. I don’t know if the book is available in english yet, but I am sure that it will in a short time.