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Coming from an Off-Key Time: A Novel
by Bogdan Suceava
translated by Alistair Ian Blyth
Northwestern University Press, 2011
Paper: 978-0-8101-2684-8
Library of Congress Classification PC840.429.U34V4613 2011
Dewey Decimal Classification 859.3


The fall of communism in Eastern Europe in 1989 marked, in one famous formulation, the "end of history." In his apocalyptic novel Coming from an Off-Key Time, Bogdan Suceavă satirizes the events in his native Romania since the violent end of the Ceauşescu regime that fateful year.

Suceavă uses three interrelated narratives to illustrate the destructive power of Romanian society’s most powerful mythologies. He depicts madness of all kinds but especially religious beliefs and their perversion by all manner of outrageous sects. Here horror and humor reside impossibly in the same time and place, and readers experience the vertiginous feeling of living in the middle of a violent historical upheaval.

Even as Coming from an Off-Key Time suggests the influence of such writers as Mikhail Bulgakov, the fantastic satirist of the early Soviet Union, Suceavă engages the complexities of a quickly changing country in search of its bearings and suspicious of its past. Bogdan Suceavă is an associate professor of mathematics at California State University, Fullerton. One of Romanian literature’s most promising and original young writers, he is the author of four novels, two books of short stories, and several collections of poems.

Alistair Ian Blyth’s previous translations include Filip Florian, Little Fingers (2009); Lucian Dan Teodorovici, Our Circus Presents (2009); and Catalin Avramescu’s An Intellectual History of Cannibalism (2009).


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