I hope I will not jinx it for writing about it, but I manage to read quite a lot these days. Manage to read quite a lot, considering my current working schedule. Giving that students have exam and the thesis to soon present, it’s quite challenging to give feedback, answer e-mails and find the appropriate encouraging words when needed.
So, yes, I am one who always has something to do and am most definitely not among those who complain about being bored. I do complain, but because there is limited time for all the activities I’d like [or plan or say yes to] to actually do.
However, when I need to relax, I do relax. I came to terms with the fact that I need to be mentally alright in order to perform my tasks well. Thus instead of feeling guilty I enjoy a guilty pleasure, like reading a novel or a non-work related book, instead of reading work related projects, articles or reports, I simply take that time to relax. Whenever scheduled or whenever tired. I have to say though, especially when there is a lot of work to do and there is time-related pressure, I do feel a little guilty. But I do take the time off if it’s possible because overworking myself has more serious negative consequences on short time, which then propels into medium term. And from my experience, it is not easy to fix.
But, to cut the story short, this last week I needed an after-noon for myself. And that meant zooming into a book. At times, I like to spend time with friends and people and at times, I need to be alone and to let myself drown into a story. At others, I like to be by myself with my thoughts on a long walk, but that’s another story.
And the book I’ve chosen for this relaxing after-noon is a new Romanian thriller written by Bogdan Hrib and published at Tritonic, titles Reziliență. [Reslience]. I got it on the same day, from Tritonic publishing house, from the author himself.
First thing that caught my eye was the title, of course. It made me think about resilience in the context of my own book, as resilience is a very important concept in the disaster risk reduction field.
I picked it up from the unread stack of books I collected in the last months because I was curious. There is something about knowing the author of a book that get’s you more interested in the first place. But that isn’t enough to keep reading the book.
In this case, I was hocked from the first pages and haven’t stopped reading until I finished the book. So, yes, I basically spent the entire afternoon reading the entire book. Not only because I wanted to know why the crimes happened, but also because the characters are dealing with personal turmoil that is fascinating to follow.
The main character is Stelian Munteanu. He has experience in various domains (journalism, publishing) and seems to be a retired before time collaborator of the police. He helps with investigations, but is somewhat of a freelancer. A detective he knows recommends him to a rich Romanian businessman to investigate the latter’s daughter sudden death in the UK, where she worked.
He accepts the job because his life partner lives in London and the case gives him a chance to be with her for a couple of days more. He has to work with King, an employee of the businessman who get’s things done, despite his liking. Coming back to Romania without much evidence, he finds the said Romanian businessman dead in his mansion. And from here on, the character and his aids try to make sense of these deaths and also new attacks, The story is international in nature, as the action is set in Romania (Bucharest, Iasi, Constanta) and UK, and is connected to events in Poland and the Republic of Moldova.
Two things I found absolutely fascinating about the book.
- One is that it successfully blends formal and informal, local and global, love and friendship, direct human connections and social media mediated connections. It exemplifies informal communication between institutions, while references to procedures are made, it paints a realistic picture of Romanian culture or of a big part of it, it presents how work life and personal life are actually very difficult to completely separate and how despite us living through interacting online, the off-line interactions are more important.
- The second is that the action happens in places I know or I visited, like The Coffee Factory. Or places that I’d like to check myself, if they exist, like the PhotoCoffee. This sounds like a nice place.
It felt easy to be interested in the characters and to understand who they were and what is interesting to them.
I must mention that Stelian Munteanu is the main character of previous novels, as this is part of a series. But truth be told, this is the first book in the series I read. I am quite curious though to read the previous volumes as well, to learn more about this middle-aged, somewhat introverted character.
I will refrain from criticizing, mostly because I really enjoyed the book and that I don’t read many thrillers. Also, I am in a phase where I feel that people criticize too much and before I write myself a thriller, I give myself permission to just enjoy and recommend.
If you read it and enjoy it, please let me know. We might make it a book club choice and discuss it a little if there is interest.
Go read and make today count!