Burying The Past
By Carmen Bugan
Graywolf Press 15.00 256 pages
Just once, there needs to be a book about a happy Romanian peasant. Burying the Typewriter looks at the story of Carmen Bugan, whose family was persecuted because the father decided to do something about Romanian communists. Even when he is sent to prison, the persecution does not let up, and, in fact, intensifies. It finally gets to the point where they eventually leave, heading to Michigan. This is a fantastic story of a family persevering regardless of the odds, and finally coming to peace with its past.
Normally, a book like this gets annoying because it is way too dreary; you stop wondering why the family doesn’t escape and start wondering why no one has committed suicide. However, it is fun to see the minor ways that the villagers help the family, even when things get bad, and the steps that the secret police take to enforce their will. This is an excellent example of why the Ceausescu rule would have eventually ended by bullet by someone’s hand. This is a wonderful story, if somewhat dreary, of perseverance and how dependent rebels, volunteer or forced, are dependent on the good will of those around them.
Reviewed by Jamais Jochim