INCOGNITO by Petru Dumitriu


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In this vast, horrifying, metaphysical melodrama (it has a happy message of sorts), Communists are playing Roumanian roulette in Bucharest, and everyone is incognito-- i.e. wearing his mask of office. Your brother, a Party member, is also secretly in the Security Police and attempts to downgrade you to the lowest possible office. Only one charactr, a saint, wears a halo instead of a mask. Perfect interior freedom ""renders a face as impenetrable as does stupidity"", while others, even hidden, are completely exposed. The narrator, secretly entrusted with some seditious literary documents, is about to defect to West Berlin with them, but before he can secure an exit visa, he must arrange the murder of Sebastian Ionesco, an innocent the Party wishes removed. In the course of investigating Sebastian, the narrator discovers that he is also the victim of an investigation conducted by other investigators also under investigation. Caught in this process of recirculating deception, the narrator and his moral dilemma are resolved when the Security Police arrest him. These circumstances attend his acquisition of faith in God. Berlin bound, the narrator is convinced that there are hierarchies of souls, while Sebastian's fate remains a mystery... Dumitriu's earlier, also interesting socio-political commentaries on life within this country, all appeared on the Pantheon list, and the publishers hope to achieve a Zhivago with this new book.

Publisher: Macmillan