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Times, on the Runis Mada CAZALI’s second detective novel. It is preceded by Confessions with Seashells and Salty Water and followed by The Ring of Fire.
This is what literary critic and translator Ana-Lucreţia NEDELCU says about this novel:
Mada CAZALI is a ferocious, high-spirited female writer, with a passion for the detective, dynamic stories. The novel represents a complex of unexpected happenings touched by a poetic glance. In this one, the author gathers facts, memories, crimes, thrilling moments, confusions and poetry in a marvelous and well-designed mixture, resulted in an ideal detective novel, a perfect story ready to be related during chilly Saturdays, accompanied by a cheerful mysterious music.
The captivating dimension of this novel is completed by beautiful lyrical elements and an almost surreal image of nature.
A remarkable technique used by the author appears to be when linking the present to the future, the concrete and visible actions to the lyrical memories that point out the psychological side of the characters, translated into a kind of melancholy, dream, nostalgia or regret. All the same, an explanatory point for the reader would represent the building of characters’ route, their journey or their written journal, an aspect that helps for the whole construction of the present novel, leaving nothing behind, particularly written and chosen for a full understanding of the conflict and its nature: “Cahul, June 29th, 2012…”
The author’s characters aren’t only witnesses to odious crimes, or investigators or observers, but also philosophers, thinkers and poets: “Comfortably sat in the light bamboo wood chair found on the terrace, she started to write. Ever since college, she had published under the pen name of ‘Alba’–poems and short stories. She was receiving good critique and invitations for publishing her work, but never really thought of doing it.”
This book brings us face to face with a difficult case: five people murdered and a weird creature. Reader’s curiosity and attention are obviously restrained by this mysterious plot, full of suppositions and interests, for clearing up this case and for discovering the enigmatic woman by her name, Magdalena. Who is she and what does she hide behind a face disturbed by a harsh make-up turned into a mask? What is the connection between the substantial description addressed to the concrete and the poetic memories unleashed in time to petrify this poor soul? (Read... and find out!)
The unmistakable style encourages us to analyze the dynamic of our daily lives; it portrays a possible society we live in, it covers our senses with precise and quick information about the facts, just like in a journalistic research. Unfortunate daily situations presented with a simple, understandable language, mingle with 1st person reflexive voice, the intimate diary that transcends reality into a magical fairy-tale and poetic memory. There is an existential level that appears detached from the rest of the concrete one, but that comes as a miraculous support in solving the detective cases.
Last but not least, this novel speaks about history’s atrocities, Romanian historical facts linked to political and social happenings. I leave you, the reader, to discover the essence of these facts. Were they seen by an objective eye or were some of these events part of author’s life?
Here, among these lines, we find a multidisciplinary style quite hard to approach for a writer, but upon which Mrs. CAZALI acts with simplicity and easiness. This is why, I warmly recommend Mrs. CAZALI’s writings, which are full of both dynamism and poetry.
Ana-Lucreţia NEDELCU–philologist, translator, writer, World Poetry Canada & International