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A Luminous Future: Growing up in Transylvania in the Shadow of Communism Paperback – March 19, 2012

4.9 out of 5 stars 34 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


'...a unique insight into one of the most disturbing periods of modern European history.' Chris McLeod, Man of Water

'It's funny and warm and heartbreaking − as life so often is.' Jayne Pupek, The Tomato Girl

'I find the story quite gripping, and clearly and vividly told, with a mass of illuminating detail.' Helena Drysdale, Looking for George

"What an exceptionally amazing and beautiful book!"
-Goodreads Reviewer

"Its theme reminds one of Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn's The Gulag Archipelago, and is a testament to the resilience of the human spirit."
-Amazon Reviewer

"I think this book is phenomenal... It really is something you have to experience for yourself!"
-Goodreads Reviewer

"Sometimes this story was scary, sometimes sad. Sometimes profound, sometimes lighthearted and funny. I loved every page and cannot recommend it higher." - Cory Banyan *****

"I still have goosebumps on my arm even after I'm done reading! Sad, yet heart-warming at the same time." - April Dawn *****

"I especially loved that this book is based on someone's real life who isn't famous and talking about their fame or latest drug addictions."
-BN, Goodreads, Librarything

"This book is real...it's about what is really real, and what really matters. It gives a grand view of life..."
-BN, Goodreads, Librarything

From the Author

A Q&A with Teodor Flonta

Question: Transylvania: vampires and witches. Have you had any close encounters with either?

Teodor Flonta: Of course. The modern vampires of Transylvania controlled my life, from an early age - and tried to control my mind as well. They were the secret police of the communist regime. Like the vampires in some Western literature, they hated daylight and always turned up after midnight. Another striking resemblance to the vampires from literature was that they were extremely blood-thirsty. Instead of fangs, they had guns; and they travelled in a windowless van called a duba, which for many innocent 'enemies of the people', sadly, led to their being sent home from prison in a coffin.
     As to witches, yes, I had a personal encounter at the age of 15, an episode described in the book, that made me less doubtful about their powers.

Q: What prompted you to write A Luminous Future?

TF: In one word: injustice. As the son of an 'enemy of the people', I have been subjected unjustly to many iniquities, just as my father and mother were. When you are a child, that is impressed indelibly in your mind.
     In more words: I left my Transylvania, physically, at the age of 26 - on the eve of my 26th birthday, as a matter of fact - but I carried its memory with me everywhere I went. The events I lived through there, with my family, have marked me for life; I could never forget them. So, 60 years later, I describe some of them in the book.
     Then, these memoirs are part of our family history; I believe it is important that, having grandchildren who have been born into a world so different and so distant from the one I was born into, they should know about my past.

Q: Can you isolate that moment in time when you made up your mind to write A Luminous Future?

TF: It's difficult to say, apart from the fact that it happened after I left Romania. I had written bits and pieces over the years, first in Italian, then in English; but I felt I was not getting anywhere. I had to find a voice suited to the story; and I can pinpoint, to the hour, exactly when I found it. It was when my first grandson was born. His birth brought back memories of all the stories I'd been told about my own birth in Lupoaia - my own grandfather's immense joy, his celebration with the gypsy band, the howling of the wolves in the nearby forest, the Fates and my mother's prophesy about my life. I think it's a joy of biblical proportions when your first grandchild is born, since you are in the presence of something extraordinary - the perpetuation of life, sprung from ancestors long gone, that passes through you and goes beyond your own children to a new generation. The realization that you have lived to see it, with your own eyes, is overwhelming.

Q: What can people expect to take away from your book?

TF: By learning about one of the most repressive regimes in modern times, its methods and its total lack of respect for life - be it human or animal - we can build a better future, making sure that history does not repeat itself. I believe that the more we know about regimes which trample on human dignity and human basic rights, the better equipped we will be to fight those governments which might be tempted to limit our freedom and play havoc with our rights.
     Every reader might well take something different from my book, but everyone will surely admire my father's tenacity and resilience in the face of enormous difficulties. Overnight he was turned into a victim, by a criminal regime which wanted him dead and he managed to stay alive. Every time a victim survives such a regime, anywhere in the world, it's a victory for humanity.
     Although my father himself had completed only primary school, he understood the value of education. So, when I was confronted with obstacles, from primary school right through university, because of having a father who was an 'enemy of the people', he and Mama were always there to encourage me and to show me what was important and what was not. Their support and their enormous sacrifices were crucial to my being able to continue my studies. My father firmly believed that education was going to be my salvation and he would always tell me that. He was right.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (March 19, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1470122359
  • ISBN-13: 978-1470122355
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.8 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,231,600 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition
From the time I was 11 or 12 I have been fascinated with Communism. I started reading all of the Russian literature and history I could get my hands on. As an adult I broadened my reading to Soviet satellite countries such as Afghanistan and Romania. I have to say A Luminous Future was one of the best books I have read about the effects of Communism on the average person. Teodor's insights and questions, even as a child, are astounding. Each time I sat down to read I became so absorbed in his world, the stories of his father's refusal to submit to the regime despite the consequences, I would have to tear myself away to get sleep. I don't give out 5-star reviews easily, but when I read something that truly transports me to another place I want others to know about it. The world of a small Romanian village in the 1950s & 1960s comes to life on these pages and I didn't want it to end.

For all those who believe that every child should be given a prize in school in order to be fair and not hurt anyone's feelings, Teodor Flonta is a shining example of what that child who doesn't receive a prize, who is beaten down at school but is raised back up by support from his family can accomplish. I have tremendous admiration for the Flonta family, the sacrifices they made, and the comprises they were subjected to.
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This book is a winner. As you read the story of a boy growing up in Romania under a dictator regime, you also learn about the oppression of collectivism whether it is spiritual or physical. His parents sacrificed much for young Teodor to get the education they felt was the key to his future. One of my favorite quotes from Mr. Flonta was "The cane leaves a mark on your flesh for an hour, a day or two. The good answers to the questions leave a mark on the brain."

This is a very personal story and I was fascinated with the culture and tradition of a small Romanian village between 1946 and the early 1960's. If you ever wondered what it was like to grow up behind "the Iron Curtain" this is the book for you.

On the lighter side, you learn that adolescent boys are the same all over the world.
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I met this author on Twitter and frequently, he would post quotes, sentences from the novel. Twitter can be fast-paced, hectic, frenzied almost, and when I came upon these choice bits I felt as if time slowed down, forcing me to savor Teodor's poetry in words. This is not a fast read. I wouldn't want to rush through the pages of Teodor's life, in fact, I took extra time, needing to visualize his haunting words and live each day beside him. Some of which was brutal. The power of the human will shines through on these pages, from Teodor as a young boy growing up under the siege of communism or later, while attending school, his first love to eventual marriage. Bravo, Teodor on a well-documented memoir. I spent many nights reading the days of your Life right alongside you.
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I more than enjoyed reading this exceptionally written book!!! I fell in love with the Flonta Family!!!

Dr. Teodor Flonta is a man to be honored and admired. We all live our lives in different realities and seeing it for what it's worth. Teodor is a lucky man to have had such strong willed, passionate, caring and courageous parents, but the thing that touches me and fills my mind and heart with admiration of and joy for Dr. Flonta, is the very fact that he too - absolutely knows that!!!

Dr. Flonta is an exceptionally intelligent man who found a way to relate his family's story to readers who, he knew might not be able to grasp a full image of the story itself, his use of wolves, witches and the vampires bring images that which bring about a feel to the reader's mind and guide them through the story. I find his ability to tell a true story using fiction as a way to relate the intensity - to be absolutely brilliant!!!

Dr. Flonta is a shining result of his family's hard work and sacrifices.

"A Luminous Future" should be read by everyone.

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Because I joined twitter and saw some words by Teodor Flonta that gripped my attention, I was drawn to this book. Before I opened it to read, I had no idea I would learn of a part of world history that would jolt me, teach me and instill in me a clearer disclosure of "Man's Inhumanity to Man" I do not know Teodor Flonta, and was born well after the worst of communism in Romania had become history. To say the least, our lives did not parallel. As a 3rd generation Italian, born in New England USA, my life contained no political tyranny. I was not aware of the personal suffering or struggles of people like Teodor's mother and father, however aware of communism. As one of seven Italian children born to those who migrated from Naples Italy to America in the early 1940's I knew of the hunger and pain suffered by my grandparents who came here and managed to become successful in spite of, or because of their experience in Italy. They did not speak of it often, but it was known. And yet, Romania was another planet and no one knew, or at least I didn't, what transpired in that country. I now do.

As I read of Teodor's father's work ethics, family traditions, loyalty, love, and endurance, I was responsive; and able to identify. My own family held that approach in my own life. But in my life, I have never read such a detailed account of political cruelty. In parts, because of my busy schedule, I read, wept, laughed, and processed a part of history I never dreamed possible. Well written and with short chapters, Flonta's book walks the reader through each event and shows us every room in his house, his life and his memory; even shared the air they breathed. Some of the episodes he transports us to, are heartbreaking and astounding.
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