In an epic tale of identity and the indomitable human spirit, OUT OF THE TRANSYLVANIA NIGHT explores tyranny, freedom, love, success, and the price paid for misaligned dreams. An incredibly powerful memoir.
'I'd grown up in the land of TRANSYLVANIA, homeland to Dracula, Vlad the Impaler, and, worse, the Communist dictator, Nicolae Ceausescu—who turned Romania into a land of gray-clad zombies who never dared to show their individuality, and where neighbors became informants, and the Securitate made people disappear. Daylight empowered the regime to encircle us like starved wolves, and so night had always been the time to steal a bit of freedom. As if bred into our Transylvanian blood, we were like vampires who came to life after sundown. I buried the family heirloom jewels, tucked the flag into my sweater and left my outpost to join the action . . . tonight Ceausescu would die!'
Known for using stand-ins to pose for him, Aura doubts if it was even Ceausescu himself who was killed that night. Nevertheless, when her countrymen topple one of the most draconian regimes in the Soviet bloc, Aura Imbarus tells herself that life post-revolution will be different. But little in the country changes. With two pieces of luggage and a powerful dream, Aura and her new husband flee to America. Through sacrifice and hard work, the couple acquire a home, cars, and travel—but trying to be Americans is much more complicated than they expect. More difficulties set in: the stock market crash takes their savings, house, and cars; thieves steal three centuries' worth of heirloom jewels; and Aura's beloved mother dies.
Aura's marriage crumbles under the stress. Devastated, she asks herself, 'How much of one's life is owed to others?' Tested even further by the vagaries of fate, Aura discovers a startling truth about striking a balance between one's dreams and the sacrifices and compromises that allow for serenity, selfhood, and lasting love. More resolution comes when in 2010, Ceausescu's body is exhumed to answer questions of a cover-up, and Aura can finally lay to rest the haunting mysteries of her past.
This is a heart-wrenching book that will invoke different emotions from one sentence to the next. I was amazed at how deeply I fell into this book and it didn't take long for me to get hooked. Aura's a strong woman who's story can teach all who read it. I would give this book five out of five stars.
Bettie Youngs Books
September 27, 2010
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Disclosure: I received a copy of this book for free. All opinions expressed are 100% mine. If you purchase a book using my Amazon or Barnes and Noble link, I will receive a small portion of the purchase price.