cover image Youth Without Youth and Other Novellas: And Other Novellas

Youth Without Youth and Other Novellas: And Other Novellas

Mircea Eliade. Ohio State University Press, $30 (288pp) ISBN 978-0-8142-0457-3

These three novellas, written when Eliade was already an old man, seem to have come from a time warp. Heavily symbolic, they owe a large debt to the surrealism of the '20s. Set in Romania, each attests to the author's fascination with wordplay and intellectual jousting. While Eliade's religious scholarship is noted for its clarity, his fiction writing is, unfortunately, pedestrian here. In ``The Cape,'' a saboteur prints phony copies of the Romanian party organ, Scinteia, antedating them by three years. The secret police, highly agitated, deduce that a worldwide peace organization is sending coded messages through the paper, derived from the beatitudes. In ``Youth Without Youth,'' an old man is struck by a bolt of lightning and becomes young again. Now endowed with a fantastic memory and comprehension, he receives ``thought'' messages from the supernatural. ``Nineteen Roses'' concerns the secretary of a famous writer who finds himself reliving an experience that happened to his employer 30 years ago. The writer disappears and is presumed deadbut is he? Eliade clearly hungers for a simpler, more spiritual time. This is an odd collection, basically about decoding messages from the beyond. (July)