2, a novel and Words & pictures: the miracle of artistic lending and borrowing
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December 1989, Romania – a culture steeped in secrecy-fuelled paranoia is reflected in the family of six-year-old Adam Stan, whose father is missing and no one concedes to even talk about it. In the first of two sections of 2, a novel, through the eyes of Adam the child, the narrative explores the fall of Ceaușescu's regime and the incandescent bouts of hope brought on by the first Romanian democratic summer, but overshadowed by the presence of an absent father. Adam keenly experiences the joys and injustices of private and public life in both urban and rural Romanian landscapes, before he is forced to emigrate with his mother to the United States. The latter half of the novel sees the adult Adam return to his native Romania after an absence of over two decades, having been reunited with his father and fully assimilated into American life. Adam’s first impressions are of a country still in social and political turmoil, but his Romanian senses are dulled, his outlook cynical, his father’s prohibitive voice never far from his mind. However, the seemingly new scenery and the people he meets end up exposing forbidden memories which prompt Adam’s curiosity for coming to terms with his family’s past. Dualities construct the framework of Adam’s journey: innocence and experience, child- and adulthood, nationhood and otherness, (post)communism and capitalism, personal and national trauma, culture and identity. 2, a novel is a story about family, displacement, language, but most of all about finding a sense of self despite the ambivalent responsibility that comes with inheriting one’s history.