The first get-together at the Casa FILIT this year was a reunion of the Spanish-language writer Care Santos and of Romanian writers Ion Vianu and Bogdan Suceavă, under the label “Writers in the centre”. For two hours, the writers were the charges of professor Nicolae Crețu.
The event moderator, professor Nicolae Crețu, made sure no details were left out from the presentation of the three writers’ professional profile, setting the foundation for a nuanced discussion. He also underlined that fact that, although at first sight such a meeting risks appearing as too eclectic, it does, in fact, contain numerous convergence points. The fact that the novel as a genre is familiar to all three guests and the pretext of an interest the three share for space as an almost autonomous entity were two of the common areas of interest.
Care Santos is known especially as the author of the novel Closed rooms, which, as Nicolae Crețu put it, is “shaped in the mould of investigation” and plays “a structural game”. Thinking back at the creation process, the author of the novel stressed that the basis of the book consisted of “both an accumulation of experiences and documentation”. These two layers are always present in her books, she added, because the intimate material, her personal obsessions, combined with an objective content, retrieved from collective memory, form a balanced mix and provides satisfying results. “A novel can be forgiven anything but the lack of emotion”, said Santos, adding that a novel is also allowed to be “imperfect in technical terms”.
Care Santos has been writing since she was eight and, as she confessed, “it is only now that I understand this game called life”. She is interested in everything that concerns the Catalan bourgeoisie, with which she is familiar through her biography, but she insists she does not like “the label of «historical novel»”: “I do not provide an alternative interpretation, I only use historical contexts in order to frame the fiction”. From here stems, no doubt, her conviction that literature is a collaboration between lies and truth, an aesthetic twinning of these two contrasting points.
Ion Vianu hopes that reading will be reborn in the electronic media
The attention of the audience then focused on the novelist and essay writer Ion Vianu, who, encouraged by Nicolae Crețu, made ‒ and everyone was delighted he did – a mental reconstruction of a childhood closely supervised by the presence of books: “There were books everywhere, I was born with the feeling that these were normal circumstances”. A normalcy in which, as the author put it, “reading does not mean merely processing the contents of the book”, but instead is a much farther-reaching experience, the merits of which are extremely diverse.
Ion Vianu experiments with new reading techniques. More precisely, he is open to innovative platforms and sees merits in making use of electronic books. The accessibility of texts of any kind seems to be the first advantage that drew him into the relationship with electronic text, although he admits that “it is no longer the read of the past”, and that “the fetish of the object no longer exists”. It must be mentioned that “the new media provide new opportunities for culture and hopefully they will result in a rebirth of literature,” the guest added.
Challenged again by the event moderator, Ion Vianu tackled the issue of the exile: “the condition of exile extends beyond the end of the experience of exile,” he said, explaining thus that this issue engenders the equivalent of a moral trial.
Bogdan Suceavă was then drawn into the conversation, being introduced by Nicolae Crețu as an individual “of a monstrous self-exaction”. His books, a mix of history, politics, psychology and sociology, capture faithfully instances and situations involving Romania, presented deliberately in a rather imprecise manner by the author. Bogdan Suceavă had this to say about the ’90s: “there used to be infinite sources of comedy, I really wished I could write a comedy about the inanities that were uttered at the time”. In any case, in the opinion of Nicolae Crețu, Coming from a off-key time “is a very powerful book, because it captures the pulse of those times”. The professor admitted that, although the novels of Bogdan Suceavă are a place where several fields intersect, “one does not feel a transfer from psychology to fiction”. His fiction remains, therefore, as authoritative as possible and outlines solidly its space.
Towards the end, Nicolae Crețu revealed the element that connects all there guest writers: The books written by Ioan Vianu, Care Santos and Bogdan Suceavă “draw upon the virtues of a certain espiritu loci“. “The binomial belonging-estrangement”, as the moderator underlined, seems to be a shared concern for the three, playing a role that is equally important the their books, although it is used in different manners. In any case, “language remains the core of sincerity”, added Care Santos confidently.