Iulian Bocai

Excerpt from

Critics about

Novel, EGO. PROSE series, Polirom, 2018

Copyright: Polirom

Translation rights sold to: All rights available

Critics about

 “Joking aside, The Strange and Endearing Life of Prita Barsacu, Iulian Bocai’s debut (mini-)novel, is a sensational book (…) Bocai’s novel is a bildungsroman (or rather a “bildungsnovella”, as the title page specifies), although one of savage realism. Of course, it has an obvious meta- component, an implicit irony that comes from the combination of an ‘elevated’, television documentary-like narrative voice with lowly human subject matter: the early years of Prita Barsacu, the scion of a poor and scattered family, who lives in a village near a hydroelectric plant on the Olt River. What fills this life can be divined at least in part: physical and mental abuse at home and school, abject poverty, a toxic multilateral domestic setting, with an alcoholic father, a mentally ill mother, one criminal brother, one baker brother. N.B.: in the social context of the book, being a baker is worse than being a brute, inasmuch as baking is overly feminine, while brutality betokens masculinity.” 


“I don’t know Iulian Bocai, who won the 2018 Polirom debut competition. I have described his book and read it with increasing curiosity, especially since his bildungsnovella gripped me from the very first page. From the short biographical note on the front inside flap of the book, I learn no more than that he was born in Oltenia in 1986, studied literature at Bucharest University, is working on a PhD thesis, and from time to time translates from English, French and German. (…) But in any case, with the tale of Prita Barsacu, Iulian Bocai has entered the world of the major Romanian novel from his very debut.” 



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