This 300+ pages story depicts the struggle of a Romanian young man of escaping the communist gulag of Romania ‘s mid 20th century.Written skilfully by Sharon Rushton the mini saga of Cornel Dolana starts off with the closure of WW2 and the intrusion of the communist regime way of living into the lives of Romanian farmers of this southeastern European country .Riddled by internal political turmoil which ends with the coup which overthrows king Michel and results in the installation of the worst and reckless political climate of the last century in that part of the world,the entire country of Romania plunges into a sea of troubles and injustices.
The story’s timeline coincides with the historical series of events of the decade following the coup and the life of the main character unfolds rapidly under the curios eyes of an eager reader.As a young man Cornel Dolana experiences the injustices of the new regime
and is baffled by the insidious propaganda thrust upon him and his fellow students at the local school.
A few scenes are memorable and the reader gets a glimpse of the cruelty of this new world order when he experiences through the eyes of Cornel Dolana the cruel killing of the guard dogs that his family owns.The image of the mass graves the dogs corpses are tossed in lingers in the reader’s mind and hints to Stalin’ s human mass graves of later on .
The grim perspective of a wasted life determines Cornel Dolana to plan his escape to a better place and his secret dream is to reach the US.The mirage of the free world is a powerful motivation for him and he can only imagine at first what is like to be in free country and to live a meaningful life.The power of the media is crucial here ;the radio he manages to hide from the state’s agents bridges his imagination to the world he is dreaming of.
A touching story intertwined with a brief love affair right before his escape from a border town of Romania,this book pictures in a Hollywood style narrative the struggle of a young man who wants to do better for himself and succeeds in doing that by working hard at it,never giving up his dream and is to this day an inspiration to us all.
Book Review by Sebastian Rus,editor at RadioDiasporaONLINE