Literary Subtlety And Challenge. A Wannabe Preface To A Remarkable Debut

Some of the readers of this book may very well not go beyond the first part. Actually, they may not go through with their reading at all. Despite the efforts of our predecessors, from Conachi and Negruzzi to Creanga, from Rebreanu to Bogza and young Eliade, joined, after the revolution, by poets and writers such as Emil Brumaru, the late Nedelciu, Stefan Agopian, Ianus, that other fellow, the one from Galatzi, Mihai Galatanu, or myself, the Romanian reader is most often shy and reluctant to erotic references. Reluctant in discourse, I mean, for he is a hypocrite and a pharisee! As if he had been brought into this world by a process of a spontaneous generation or laying, in no way similar to the birth of the rest of humanity ever since Genesis, through the ancient and delightful coupling of bodies. And as if they had never been secretly leafing, since the dawn of the post-revolutionary period, through porn magazines printed on poor quality paper at the beginning of post-communist liberalization, and only recently promoted to the glossy, full-color picture look. Not to mention the passion for X-rated movies, or the day by day more intensely sexualized language, even in inappropriate contexts, as I have just witnessed while attending a funeral! Yes, but on the double-standard borders of the Orient, the masses seem to enjoy rights which are denied precisely to the writer, or else Bogza or Eliade wouldn't have been threatened with jail in the thirties, and two other poets I have mentioned wouldn't have recently gone through the same ordeal. I myself wouldn't have been publicly lashed by a politician for one of my erotic – but not extremely daring – poems, in a now extinct, obscure local magazine.I chose this onset only to warn the young and bold author that her life with the Romanian readers will not be easy after this book. Moreover, even the critics with a penchant for classical style will discreetly frown. Secondly, I started in this way in order to force the stiffness of our public and its hypocritical guile. It is also true that Ioana Baetica is perfectly able to challenge by the book! The first chapter of the micro-novel Pan's Pulse, the one opening the book is a small but robust – as that American politician would say! – encyclopedia of sex in all of its manifestations. One can find anything here, just like in an Oriental bazaar – "normal" sex, but also oral, pedophilia, spermatophagia, just like the uncanny consumption of pubic hair, and so on. I wondered why would the author be so keen on this spectacular, hot and vaguely atrocious presentation. Was it to challenge us? Of course, but in a somewhat deeper sense than one might suspect at first glance. She didn't challenge for the sake of challenge, but in order to check us out and operate a selection. She made us take the aqua regia test. Whoever may pass this first test/text, whoever may not dissolve in its acid, can proceed – just like in Skinner's programmed instruction. And whoever may proceed will be fortunate to enjoy a splendidly designed book, almost exquisitely refined – almost, because some aspects of age, some trifle pretensions are still to be noted.

by Liviu Antonesei