“The lead coffins were fast asleep…” by George Voica

© M.M. Loviste 2021

Reading the novel The City of the Last Eclipse by Mihaita Mihai-Loviste, you are tempted to believe that, despite yourself, you get caught in a carnival show, in which the characters (“important people,” as Caragiale would say!) are taken from Kafka’s The Trial or from the world of Urmuz, wearing muddy trains hiding atavistic impulses, feline grins, and uncontrollable intestinal rumbling.

It’s a rustle and a deluge of mud specific to a crude space.

All the institutions appear presented in a thick paste, and, above all, the main character, Mr Gelu, smiles, threatening us with a pagan finger and raising his eyebrows, so that you would think his eyes are devoid of eyelids and follow us incessantly.

Doctors and nurses wrapped in erotic steam, turned-on to the max by the color of trickling blood; prefect, deputy prefect, and mayor in a burlesque vaudeville; officers and non-commissioned officers obstructed in their attempt to comply with the law; scared, ruffled writers; sickly intellectuals, but with august pretensions and futuristic gums.

It makes you feel nauseous soon!… You would like to escape from this imbecility, but you find with astonishment that The City of the Last Eclipse sinks irretrievably under the hooting sounds of night owls, that Sartre himself might have been envious of the author of this novel.

The world we are offered is monstrous! Democracy is an unknown animal, which gives birth to serial reptiles terrorizing you with the cold moisture dripping from their scales.

The reader would like to see a magnolia bloom or a yellow butterfly losing itself in the morning among the fresh chandeliers of the chestnuts amazed by the sunrise, but it does not happen like in Walt Whitman, where the sunrays pierce you like thin spears; on the contrary: you feel your flesh coming off your bones, and tens of thousands of white skeletons dance macabrely and hilariously among scarecrows.

There is no trace of wind from anywhere; the drought is terrible; the asphalt screams and dies, and the characters continue to grin and yelp pitifully.

You wait for the city to breathe its last at any moment and the gypsy mourners to flutter their red skirts over the trees, singing and banging pans to the rhythm of the Hierophant, as they tremble bare-skin (but holding on to their cell phones) at the gate of Heaven!…

Where to head for, you wonder, when there is no indication sign?! You sink with your head in the mud and feel the moon wind bringing Balkan miasmas!…

Surpatele, April 18, 2001

George Voica

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