Friday, August 12, 2011

"Fingers and Other Fantastic Stories", Marian Coman's fiction available in English

“I am thinking sometimes that I am a chopping machine. A monstrous chopping machine from which, like endless worms, the words are crawling outside. I am a chopping machine, a silent mill that grinds memories, that crashes readings, music and people, I am a chipped mixer that mingles fragments of dusty myths and caught on the fly ideas, I am a neuronal grater that lays on the paper a compact paste in which the smiles of friends, the grins of strangers, the moans of lovers, the morning coffee or the breakfast eaten at noon can still be read.” (Marian Coman“White Nights, Black Days”)

The quote from Marian Coman’s “White Nights, Black Days” firmly touches autobiography, although it is from a work of fiction. One work of fiction that has a place high on my list of preferences together with the other Marian Coman’s published fiction book, “The Chocolate Testament”. Indeed the compact paste that Marian Coman lays on paper bares strong emotions and touches intimately the reader. It was the same case with his latest short story, “White Butterfly”, a new piece of fiction after two years of pause.

Still, it was the exclusive privilege of the Romanians to enjoy Marian Coman’s wonderful prose and overflowing imagination. Not anymore. Because for the first time Marian Coman’s fiction is available in English. In electronic format for the moment and I do hope that it will have the chance to be released on paper too. “Fingers and Other Fantastic Stories” features four short pieces of fiction, one better than the other. “Fingers”, “The Bathroom Door”, “Unwired” and “Between Walls” are beautiful choices, poised to make a mark on the reader. They left a mark on me. “Fingers” a fantastic story that shows you an image of a childhood spent under the Communist regime led by Nicolae Ceaușescu. The Romanians have different connections with this story and although others readers do not have the same purchase on its background I believe that they would still find its beauty. “The Bathroom Door” has accents of horror, but it is more than that, “Unwired” has elements of science fiction, while “Between Walls” journeys deep within one of the most essential Romanian myths, giving the respective legend a new dimension.

Marian Coman is part of the group of Romanian modern writers who fully deserve to make appearances on the English market and not only there. I am happy to see that Marian Coman made this first step and his fiction is available to a wider audience. And since I said in my review of “White Nights, Black Days” that: “It also made me think that if I had the power I would force Marian Coman to write more. Better still, I would pay him to do it.”, I opted for the later and bought an electronic copy of “Fingers and Other Fantastic Stories” because I know that those are money well spent.

“A flock of collared doves. Of albatrosses and finches that swarm croaking in an inextricable maze. That’s how the whole lot of children seemed to me, see from the balcony of the apartment I’m living in. I looked at them and I felt as if, as small as I saw them from above, I could catch and crush them between my nails like fleas. To hear their shell crack, with that noise of strawberry seeds stuck between the teeth”. (Marian Coman “Fingers and Other Fantastic Stories) – available on

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