My Childhood at the Gate of Unrest

Paul Goma, Author, Angela Clark, Translator
Paul Goma, Author, Angela Clark, Translator Readers International $10.95 (250p) ISBN 978-0-930523-73-2
Reviewed on: 03/31/1990
Release date: 04/01/1990
Goma, born in the Romanian village of Mana, spent much of his childhood under Soviet occupation. In this autobiographical novel, his first to be translated into English, he recounts the years during WW II, when the Romanian territory of Moldavia was invaded by the Soviet army (and secret police). With the imposition of national socialist policies under Stalin, such as collectivized farming and educational censorship, the Gomas fled--but not before the hardships they had faced as aliens in their own land had changed their fundamental faith in life. The story begins with descriptions of Bessarabian peasantry. The young narrator's father, the outspoken headmaster of the village school, fights ignorance and illiteracy among the people; when the Soviets come, he duly gets sent to Siberia, leaving his wife to care for the boy alone. She protects her son from the atrocities of war but cannot halt his coming of age, which involves more than a few erotic adventures. Goma writes in an indirect, detached style that, at first, is difficult to comprehend. But eventually one develops a deep appreciation for its structure, which poignantly evokes a feeling of the dislocation of the Bessarabian people by the Soviet occupying forces. (Aug.)
The Best Books, Emailed Every Week
Tip Sheet!