Ioana Pârvulescu

Romanian writer Ioana Pârvulescu, Life Begins on Friday, The Future Begins on Monday

♦ Two of this author’s many works:


Oh gosh, Viitorul începe luni (The Future Begins on Monday) by Ioana Pârvulescu (Romanian) is not in English so I’m trying to translate bit-by-bit. I’d bought a copy which was shipped from England as no copies were way down here. Having read Ioana Pârvulescu’s Life Begins on Friday, I know it’ll be most enjoyable. It’s been fun meeting up again with some of the same characters from the newspaper and police in old Bucharest. This reading-translating project may even sharpen my wits!

Life Begins on Friday swept me into a world I may find traces of when eventually I get to Bucharest. My trip’s been put on hold twice due to the pandemic still gripping the world.

The plot takes place during the last 13 days of 1897 but Dan Creţu, alias Dan Kretzu, is a present-day journalist who is hurled back in time by a “mysterious process for just long enough to allow us a wonderful glimpse into a remote, almost forgotten world”

Life Begins on Friday is beautifully written and won for Ioana Pârvulescu the EUROPEAN UNION PRIZE FOR LITERATURE. Life Begins on Friday was translated into English by Alistair Ian Blyth 2016 and was longlisted 2017 for the WARWICK PRIZE FOR WOMEN IN TRANSLATION

Life Begins on Friday a beautiful read. Happily I lent my copy to a friend but, boo-h00, she’s not returned it to me far more than a year later! – says she’s not read it and can’t find it. It’s the fourth precious book treated thus.



Xenophon & Romania

Non-fiction and fiction

The Persian Expedition


Translated by Rex Warner

Very interesting historic event. I felt I was with the soldiers on this great expedition across plains and through mountains, experiencing the political manoeuvres and negotiating through enemy territory.


Along the Enchanted Way

William Blacker

Truly enchanting. William Blacker lived many years alongside country people in mountainous northern Romania, the almost mediaeval Maramureş.

bury me standing

The Gypsies and Their Journey

Isobel Fonseca

A great learning and understanding about Gypsies. Fonseca’s book may change a reader’s attitude. I knew so little, particularly of Gypsies in the European Eastern bloc.

Salman Rushdie endorses bury me standing “A hidden world – at once ignored and secretive, persecuted and unknown – is hidden in these pages… A magnificent achievement.”

Jan Morris, Sunday Times says “A grand panorama of European gypsydom, its history, its present condition and future prospects.”

The next three are enlightening works. Glad I found them prior to my trip to Romania. 

  • A History of the Romanians by Georges Castellan
  • Romania The Great Union by Ioan Scurtu, Nicolae Sarambei and Corneliu Rades
  • Rumania by Romulus Seişanu – a lot to absorb

The more I read about Romania the better equipped I’ll surely be to appreciate not only the natural beauty but perhaps the people and their doings. I’m looking forward too of browsing the magical Bookshop in Bucharest: Cărturești Carusel — “The prettiest bookshop in Romania”   — a restored 19th Century building confiscated during the Communist Period but in 1990 returned to the Chrissoveloni family who were in  possession of it in 1903. The bookshop spreads over six levels totaling 1000sqm. It is open 1000-2200 – great idea the late closing hour for booklovers!

Kyra Kyralina

Panaït Istrati

Translated by Christopher Sawyer-Lauçanno

 A good read by a born story-teller, “a teller of Oriental tales”. Romain Rolland says in the preface to this charming little book (138 pages) that in a letter arrived from a hospital in Nice, his (Panaït Istrati’s) genius for storytelling is so irresistible that even before his suicide attempt, twice he interrupted his desperate account to narrate two humorous stories from his past life.

Panaït Istrati (1884-1935) was born in Romania six years after Romania separated from the Ottoman Empire. Later this son of a Greek smuggler lived in Constantinople which played a central role in Kyra Kyralina. First published 1923 in French, Kyra Kyralina established Panaït Istrati as a leading Modernist writer.

p.69 “The Danube attracted me like an irresistible force. I was eleven-years-old but had never known the pleasure of gliding along the river on one of the boats on which the rowers languorously sang as they made their way downstream.”

p.126 “What is charming, picturesque or interesting about the tumultuous life and adventures of a man with a fierce soul is not always found in the more prominent facts of his life.”

 Each of the three “Books” of Kyra Kyralina is a short story as if memories from childhood (or a young man as Adrien Zograffi is in Book I) on the banks of the Danube to old age on different shores, amidst oppression and extraordinary living difficulties. Istrati left home as a 12 year-old and wandered for 20 years through Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, the East, Greece, Italy often penniless. For a while he was mixed up in revolutionary movements. But for Panaït Istrati friendship was a sacred passion. His insights into the human condition are profound. His writings take the reader into lives as if some other Thousand and One Nights. 


Jump to Award-Winning Ioana Pârvulescu


My Genre

Identifying my Fiction Genre challenged me. Why? Had Computer Tags confused me such that a Cross-Over could be considered?


Literary Agents, Publishers, Retailers and Libraries (seem to) prefer one elected Genre although I note in earlier years often a book was catalogued with several Categories

I love the smell of books, the feel of them in my hands. And I can turn pages back to a great turn of phrase or idea I marked with a satin ribbon.

Is multiple-cataloguing unique to non-fiction like Byron Akyanoglu’s The Taste of Honey, Peter Thompson’s Pacific Fury, Sandra Lee’s The Promise?

But Rafik Schami’s fiction, The Calligrapher’s Secret, lists four Categories.

p38 4bks BA PF SL RF

I suppose that came with reading mountains of non-fiction. And then, coming to grips with Tags for Posts!

For A Greek Matinée, I had chosen Contemporary Fiction as the Genre (noted in my post Contemporary Fiction, Genre – A Perspective, and considering A Greek Matinée ) while I was immersed in early stages of creating my manuscript. Then I changed it to include sub-categories! Now I’m back to Contemporary Fiction. Keep it simple! However, A Greek Matinée is Literary Fiction.

The story is set in contemporary times with characters who are thrown together on a journey, swivelling through personal and social problems. Boundaries were extended as the main character became enthralled by mythology and legends. To her the figures and creatures are very real so as she sees them, those ancient characters face their own difficulties and complications.

Computerisation? Tags? Meta-tags? Reading a book on a luminous screen? Every day life becomes more complicated. Eyes glue to screens. Bums get bigger. Sadly hours spent browsing in sizeable establishments with books shelved floor to ceiling are fast becoming a thing of the past. But,

I love the smell of books. The feel of them in my hands.

I can turn pages back to a great turn of phrase or idea I’d marked with a satin ribbon; keep my finger where a map clearly shows where the story has moved to like in Harry Sidebottom’s Warrior of Rome (“a rollicking page-turner”), Christian Cameron’s Tyrant series (great action story) and Giles Milton’s White Gold– all great reads and the non-fiction Along the Enchanted Way by William Blacker.

p38b 4bks HS CC GM WB

But soon, I’ll enter a magical bookshop in Romania, Cărturești Carusel ( located in the Old Town (Strada Lipscani 55, București 030033) — “The prettiest bookshop in Romania”   — a restored 19th Century building confiscated during the Communist Period but in 1990 returned to the Chrissoveloni family who were in  possession of it in 1903. The bookshop spreads over six levels totaling 1000sqm. It is open 1000-2200. What a great idea the late closing hour for booklovers! That’ll be when the world recovers from the present crisis. I was booked to go early 2020. Then all flights and stuff of course were postponed.

Keep safe everybody. Love and respect is key.

And now it’s 2021. Still the world trembles and we’re not permitted overseas travel. We’re, rightly for our protection, locked in our state. Oh yes, we can travel to NSW or Victoria where their cases of the dread disease are skyrocketing, but we will not be able to get back into Queensland our home – without rare special permits, lengthy delays, seemingly never… and if we are lucky to cross borders, we’re whipped, rightly, into quarantine. Those southerners are not allowed in. How lovely for us to go to a restaurant, meet with friends. Sip coffee together. Walk on the beach.

December 17 2021. Border with NSW opens. I don’t think this a good idea. We’ve been so lucky to be relatively free of the problems down south.

2022 January. Now we too are stressed, overstretched, masked and trying to keep safe. How long can we hold our breath? And extraordinary weather events beset us – as is happening in the northern hemisphere. Has Earth finally reached the end of it’s tether? Retaliating for our not looking after it better?



Writing and Reading with sand between my toes … Orhan Pamuk, Peter Esterhazy, Harry Sidebottom, Umburto Eco, Ioana Pârvulescu, Delia Owens, Ovid, eclectic collections and, sobering thoughts as I flew over Roumania…

About Me, Books & Things, Quick Sketch in Flight, The Manuscript, Contact Me
  • A Greek Matinée is a work of fiction which obsessed me for several years right up to this moment which swells and shifts as if I’m possessed. Of March 2022 the manuscript is finished and I’m setting off on the road of finding a Literary Agent! I know it can be long. I’m ready! Oh what joy it will be when you can read your own copy all nicely bound by a great publisher! Who will it be?
  • A Greek Matinée is a tale set mainly in Greece. In 2016 I’d travelled there to immerse in things most Ancient, walk streets and pathways of our “cradle of western culture”. Prior to flying to Greece I’d been plotting A Greek Matinée, poring over  Greek histories, tragedies, comedies (link to Some Books and Stuff Pored over for A Greek Matinée), “sorted out” gods and, hoping to decipher even one word on an ancient stone, I attempted to learn to read Attic Greek one of the ancient languages spoken in some of the then City States. What a thrill when I actually recognised some bits of inscriptions! I’d swum in the Mediterranean Sea too! Seen Poseidon in a whirling fury soaring to the sky.
  • Yonks ago I’d finished an umpteenth fine-toothcombing and reduction of another story: Tigers in My Teacup which deliberately I put aside for A Greek Matinée which further developed and confirmed my style. My knowledge expanded in great leaps too and maturity blossomed – well, I think so! Tigers and another manuscript now badly need revisits! Maybe those two mss along with all my short stories I wrote as a member of a writing group were my next-level trainer-wheels having long-outgrown the baby-rollers.
  • I’m a member of Friends of Antiquity at University of Queensland, Royal Queensland Arts Society, Queensland Writers’ Centre, Probus and U3A where in 2019 I attended classes “Ancient Civilisations” as well as poetry and playing chess. Oh yes, and energising-socialising through Greek Dancing. For years I’ve been playing chess – although you’d not believe it if you were to play with me! ASA logo 100And now I’m an associate member of Australian Society of Authors.
  • Sometimes with pleasure I still labour with learning to read Attic Greek and almost daily – joyfully – Roumanian which has some similarities to Turkish of which I’d gained a smattering to survive travelling alone along the Black Sea coast where English seemed mythical after thriving on a marvellous tour and attending calligraphy (Arabic) classes in Istanbul – with the Master Calligrapher!
  • Oooh, here are Rough Travelling Sketches made inflight to UK 2016 before my adventures in Greece and second splash in Turkey – a military jet roared past but also I saw a plane smoking low down.

160904 An Eerie Silence over Turkey 400 and Sobering Thoughts p02

  • Had it been shot as we passed?
  • Nervously I ask: what will I encounter in Roumania soon!? (Some of the books I’m reading prior to departure are noted below.)
  • 2021 Update: Roumania? last year? this year? Oh dear, due to the ongoing pandemic sadly gripping the world, all overseas travel from here is banned. My paid-up fares and stuff are fluttering as coupons as thousands of other travellers drift in the same predicament. I do hope EVERYBODY, from the stranger on the street to the teams of front-line workers keep as safe as they possibly can – and have access to The Jab, roll up their sleeve for their shots, now that it’s been developed against this deadly virus.
  • During lockdown 2021, blow me down! I bought online  Viitorul începe luni by Ioana Pârvulescu which is printed in Romanian. So, what fun to try to translate it into English, find the right word and concept this fabulous author crafted in her own language. Ioana Pârvulescu is the award-winning writer of Life Begins on Friday.
  • I’m an avid reader. If the book is of an ancient non-English author, I’m a fan of having the original script opposite English translations like Apollodorus The Library, Ovid Tristia, Ex Ponto, The Art of Love and other Poems, Hesiod The Homeric Hymns which includes Works and Days, Theogony, The Shield of Heracles and other works. But as you see in the above para, not always an English translation is available.
  • I also enjoy more modern authors, Ioana Pârvulescu, the remarkable Delia Owens, Christian Cameron (I’m really sorry I turned down his invitation to join in an historical re-enactment in Greece prior to my planned trip there), Harry SidebottomUmburto Eco, Giles Milton, A.S. Byatt (though I struggle with Possession), of course Orhan Pamuk (got five of his books – did you recognise the right-hand pic of the montage at the top? I took that pic when I visited his … yes … Museum of Innocence); and after Peter Esterházy’s Celestial Harmonies, I loved Jack Faust by Michael Swanwick . And I’ve read The History of Bees by Maja Lunde (which I gave to my daughter-in-law – she’s an apiarist). At first I wasn’t sure what was going on as the first scene is in the future. Deeper in as I slid into the third time-frame going backwards, it clicked. A jolly good read. And there are these:
An eclectic mix – my library contains over a thousand books not to mention archaeology magazines and now, Christmas pressies!! due to my pending trip – Yes, Roumania with a flit in Budapest: Peter Esterházy again.

Books for AGM 2 4B


  • My Interests: Writing, Reading, Gardening, Swimming in the Sea, Art: painting, drawing, printmaking (intaglio, lino cut, woodcut); Travel, Ancient History, Archaeology, Playing Chess and of course, Family.



  • There is no end. There is no beginning. There is only the infinite passion of life. Ambrose Bierce
  • Did you like the photos I took in Athens and Istanbul for my signature strip?
  • What are your thoughts on all this? Below there’s a slot for you to leave a Comment [Leave a Reply] I’d be delighted if you left me a comment 🙂 
  • I do hope you will become a “Follower” of me, my site. Someday you may will find a novel of mine on the shelves of a bookshop 🙂 perhaps your favourite!
  • If you had difficulty becoming a Follower I apologise. The [Follow Elizabeth] button now works. On a computer it’s at the top right. On a Smart-Phone it’s way down the bottom past Comments! If you’re not a registered WordPress person, the pink form in my In Wet Sands – Ebbs and Flows is easy and works from a Smart-Phone! As with Life nothing stays the same, things change, sometimes at an alarming rate. Sometimes Good. Sometimes Bad. Progress gallops into an even more technical age. Let’s hope the world heals quickly from present chaos. And that people continue to read books, finger Real Paper, hardcopy… oh dear, there is a generation risen, and netting in others, who prefer on-the-go-electronic-versions. But I like the smell of books, the feel of them in my hands…

Thank you for visiting! I hope you enjoy my site. Have a browse through menus. You can jump to pages like,  Contemporary Fiction, Genre – A Perspective, and considering A Greek Matinée   or,  Book Encounters   and,  Beta-Readers, perhaps  Expanding Our Brains iii Frogs  or even consider one of my Recipes or Paintings.

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