Burying the Typewriter
I read this in 24 hours, mainly in front of an open fire. I know Carmen a liitle from a writing forum, but I know her a lot better now. I am even more in awe of her too. Both genres of writing explain or flesh out the other. It's a lot more interesting and real to read what someone I know a bit is writing. Different perspectives on the same person and their back story.
The activities of the securitate, the Secret Police, were sometimes not secret at all. That seems to me to be part of their horror, the sheer lack of shame at what they were doing.
My father used to tell us stories of what dictators did, so somehow the vision of the policemen sitting in their very house didn't surprise me. I was aware of Saddam Hussein taking a member of his cabinet to the next room during a meeting and shooting him there and then.
My mother used to mention things with a special tone of voice, so I paid extra attention to them. The Fall of Saigon and the practice of FGM/female circumcision for example.
The calm and desperate women in Trafalgar Square used to show photos of bloody body parts from Iraq. If someone is moved to stand in the cold and the rain to tell total strangers about wrongs, they are to be believed. Back then it never crossed my mind to give them a smile and a hug. I did look at the photos though.
Neither of my parents talked about activism or protest. The main thing was not living under a dictatorship and to be earning enough money.
9 min video of Carmen Bugan speaking about writing the book.
The Interpreter's House
The pieces are arranged in alphabetical order of the writers' surnames, which neatly matches the bio data at the back.
Clare Best, Nick Burbridge, David Gale, Alex Harper, Rosie Jackson, Thomas Kearnes, Martin Kratz, Maggie Mackay, Roy Marshall, Amy McCauley, Jennifer A. McGowan (hi), Angela Readman (hi), Hilary Robinson, Myriam San Marco, Di Slaney, M. Stasiak, Paul Stephenson, David Troupes, Annette Volfing (hi), Lindsay Waller-Wilkinson, Julia Webb, Pauline Yarwood.
Now I am looking through the book at pieces by the other writers and they are so interesting too:
'..run careful fingers
over her small smooth skull.'