Filip Florian [ Romania ]
Filip Florian was born in 1968 in Bucharest, where he still lives today. After studying geology and geophysics, he worked as a journalist for the magazine »Cuvintul« and then for Radio Freies Europa and Deutsche Welle. He spent five years in the Carpathian resort town of Sinaia to write his first award-winning novel »Degete mici« (2005; Eng. »Little Fingers«, 2005), which has since been translated into eight languages. His debut explores experiences with dictatorship in his country: during excavations of a Roman fort not far from a small Carpathian town, a mass grave is discovered in which several skeletons are missing the bones of their little fingers; suspicion first falls on the Securitate. The protagonist Petrus, an archaeologist plagued by stomach ulcers, is forced to postpone his excavations, but follows the work from a nearby provincial town. With the help of an Argentinean expert team of anthropologists who have experience solving junta crimes in their country, they finally succeed in identifying the dead as victims of a plague epidemic from around 1800.
In »Little Fingers«, Filip Florian playfully frees literature from the burden of bearing witness to history, since it is not a matter of discovering »truth« here, but of stories worth telling. In his novel, he combines the reconstruction of real historical facts with fantastic elements with great powerful language and imagination, thus continuing a Romanian narrative tradition. The multifaceted cast of characters in this novel consists of sometimes curious figures who not only represent recent Romanian history, but also recall the imperial and royal past. This wealth of characters, as well as many objects such as old photographs, coins, or stamps, to which Filip Florian gives a voice, give rise to an opulent portrait of a Romanian place and its history. Filip Florian wrote the youth memoir »Băiuțeii« (tr: The Baiut Alley Lads) together with his brother Matei in 2006. His 2008 novel »Zilele regelui« (Eng. »The Days of the King«, 2008) was chosen as the book of the year by the Colloquium of the Contemporary Romanian Novel. His novel »Toate bufniţele« (2013; tr: All the Owls), also rich in stories, tells of two unlikely friends who roam through the nights of the Carpathian summer, exploring the wild, mythical mountain landscape, learning the language of owls. Flashbacks to 20th-century Romanian history, manifested here in the biographies of the two protagonists, reflect their sensitive childhood experiences in a politically repressive country. »His prose, bursting with microscopic perceptions, still able to break down sounds, colors and smells into their smallest nuances, does justice to people, but above all to things.« (»WELT«).
[mit Matei Florian]
[Ü: Georg Aescht]