Homeric (Homeric)

Homeric (Homeric) - Doina Ruști
Polirom, 2019 (Romanian)

“If we look beyond the title – whose enigmatic subtext is left undeciphered until the end, Homeric is the novel of the world of Bucharest during Phanariot times, without precise historical determinations, but recreated with meticulous and charming authenticity: a feast of the senses and a rampancy of mythical elements – in a book of accursed passions and fatal charms, as if they came out straight out of the Eliadesque cellars on Mântuleasa Street.

At the core of the novel there are the tumulus and the forests of Cotroceni (which have meanwhile disappeared) inhabited by fantastical beings who live in herbage, such as the flower of divination ("the-blood-of-the-devil"), which opens doors to the world beyond. The life of the community is destabilized by the connections with the invisible creatures of the forest, which lead to mysterious disappearances. An entire world lives right in front of our eyes, fuelled by the magic of interwoven stories. From the myriad of characters, the fateful bastard lady, Miss Despina Băleanu, comes into focus, her real father an accomplice of the forest spirits. Then we have the unloved Mărmănjica, a Cinderella immunized by the potions of a doctor trained at Vienna, the strange painter Pantelimon Iorga, the irresistible fortune-teller Ciptoreanca, and the adventurer Ahmet, who had set sail in Levant and crashed at the Gates of the Orient, in this "chronicle of Băleni" sui generis... Perspectives change as if in a carousel of phantasms, and the reader becomes obsessed with the charm of a layered story.

Innate storyteller and owner of an imaginary land of her own, haunted by the ghosts of history and the "demons" of femininity, Doina Ruști catches the public eye through a whirlwind of imagination and reigns over a magical, reinvented, spectacular Balkanic realism, sung to the rhythms of the fantasy genre.”

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