Books by Ioana Ieronim

Released: Nov. 20, 2000

"An intriguing look at the transformation of the Romanian people, seen through a child's eyes but with a poet's wisdom."
Born at a time when "the century was breaking in half," Ieronim returns to her youth in her seventh collection and narrates, mostly from a child's perspective, the unsettling tale of Communism's rise in her native Romania. She effectively conveys youthful fear and confusion in the midst of political upheaval through poignant vignettes filled with cinematic detail: all the sights, sounds, and smells of the child's limited world here subtly and powerfully evoke the bigger picture of vast societal change. An especially revealing scene occurs in "At the Pharmacy": waiting in line for a prescription, the girl studies a large poster of the bearded "MARXENGELSLENINSTALIN" and asks her mother, "But how do they eat?" The question's simplicity belies the bleakness of conditions that surround her, which are enlarged upon in the rest of the collection. The volume seems conceived as a whole rather than in parts, for the poems work better in relation to one another than as individual units. Likewise, little resonates from line to line, while the extremely prose-like stanzas contribute to the work's narrative effect. Sorkin's translation is generally supple (with only the occasional clunker like "allotted enumeration"), although more than ten pages of introductory apparatus and notes tend to dwarf the rest of the slim volume. Read full book review >