Times New Romanian by Nigel Shakespear
Description from Goodreads
Times New Romanian provides a picture of Romania today through the individual first-person narratives of people who chose to go and make a life in this country. Each chapter a voice, each story in Times New Romanian provides readers with a look into the Romanian world – the way things work, the vitality of the people, the living heritage of rural traditions, ordinary life – sometimes dark, sometimes sublime, always interesting. In a land full of character and contradiction, there is a strong attraction for those with the spirit to meet the challenges, where the one thing you can be sure of is the unpredictable. Life is not always easy. These stories will tell you why… If you want to know more about Romanians and their country, the voices in Times New Romanian make for an enjoyable and lively read. Inspired by Studs Terkel and Tony Parker, Nigel used their oral history style and his own experience in Romania to guide him in recording these interviews.
I gave this book four stars out of five
I very much enjoyed reading this book. I tend to read a lot more fiction than non-fiction these days, so it made a pleasant change for me.
I liked the format of the book, which consisted of many, short, real life stories from people that had moved into Romania, or worked there, generally as foreigners. This made it easy to read in a bitwise fashion. I don’t think I quite realised the extent of the cultural diversity of the country before. It was a great insight into life as a foreigner in a fascinating and exciting country.
Each story had a different viewpoint based upon where the person had originated from, how they had first visited the country, their motivations for being there, and ultimately what kept them there. For some they now viewed Romania as their home, whilst for others it was home for now, but their real home was elsewhere. Some of those spoken to divided their time between living in Romania, and living in another country.
I found it fascinating to hear about the multitude of different ways that these people approached life in Romania. For some it was just somewhere that they worked, either for themselves, for large multinationals, or as volunteer workers, for others it was because they had a Romanian partner.
It was interesting to see how people’s lives had changed and developed during the course of their time there, and as a result of the people that they met and their experiences.
I would recommend this to anyone wanting to gain a greater insight into life in Romania as a foreigner, or indeed just interested in learning more about the country. This was a most interesting read.
This review is based on a complimentary copy provided by Netgalley and the publisher.