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Reality or fiction ?

Mircea Pricăjan



Publicat Sâmbătă, 21 Octombrie 2006, ora 12:34

      The essence of every revolution is a shift of the perspective. Those who start the revolution are, more than often, the persons who have already experimented the new perspective and who believe it to be more appropriate considering the present realities.
      These things apply to the Romanian Revolution of the year of 1989. But we are not to discuss the social and the political implications of the perspective shift it has brought, but the cultural—and, more specific, the literary—one.
      To enforce such a shift one needs arguments, and in the Romanian literary world those arguments came under the shape of memoirs and diaries. Some of them, written exactly during the past years; the others, written post-factum. That either of them was a necessity can no longer be put in question. People who so avidly have bought novels build on a strong political subversive subtext, found in these memoirs and diaries the quenching of their natural curiosity and thirst for historical truth. Thus has appeared a strong literature of non-fiction books.
      What is to be blamed now is that this somehow para-literary form of culture still reins the market, after more than a dozen of years. It is natural therefore to question whether the Romanian reading public does care anymore for what literature really is, i.e. fiction.
      Fiction-based literature didn’t vanish during these last years; fiction writers still produced valuable novels, novellas or short stories; but they didn’t sell! That was to be expected, as I have from the very beginning, and the writers knew the danger (some of them, to remain in the public’s attention, even produced some diaries and/or social or political critical comments—some even entered the public arena as politicians; no Vaclav Havel in Romania, unfortunately!), but what they didn’t expect was for this to last as a status-quo for so long a time.
      Lately, some voices have raised the need-of-fiction issue. And to these voices I add my own.
      Now that the Revolution is so distant in time and that the social interest has changed as well from digging up the untold truths of the past to the building of the future, fiction should establish itself as the real face of literature. Why this hasn’t happened yet is, I think, because the need for literature itself has suffered a grand loss (I have tickled a little this subject in a previous editorial—no need to reheat that old stew!). The taste for fiction needs to be grown again, needs to be tended and closely looked upon. Romanian mainstream literature needs to start looking a little over the fence not only to the genre literature, but to the foreign genre literature. Because, if the taste for memoirs and diaries had diminished (and it surely has!), only good fiction, encompassing all the ingredients (and interesting well-plotted story, believable characters, the sense for the extraordinary and the right tone in depicting it etc.), can make the reading-public machinery start working again. Romanian genre literature, as well, needs to start developing a voice of its own, as fiction has been in all times its bread and butter. The Romanian sci-fi, which lived some—few—moments of glory at the beginning of the 90s, has to reevaluate its position and make its way back into the public consciousness. Fantasy, horror and speculative fiction writers must appear, as there are none up to now in Romania.
      Times have changed and literature must be seen again as a form of entertainment rather than of conscious upraising. That is, if we don’t want our books to be read only by our fellow writer friends and appreciated only by our fellow critic friends. Fiction writing needs a public, all right, but, before complaining about that, what do you say about starting writing something worth having a public?
     

© Copyright Mircea Pricăjan
Sursa :   Imagikon
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