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A Luminous Future: Growing up in Transylvania in the Shadow of Communism Paperback – March 19, 2012
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From the Author
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.
More About the Author
Top Customer Reviews
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.
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.
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.
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.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
From the beginning of this book I was captured by the trials, despairs and triumphs of the Flonta family... Read morePublished 13 months ago by Gerri Bowen
I received this book as an ebook free from the author through LibraryThing in exchange for an honest review. Read morePublished 16 months ago by QA
This memoir by Teodor Flonta paints a vivid picture of personal and societal life in Romania post World War II. Read morePublished 17 months ago by Donna M. Barr
I enjoy reading anything about the effects of communism on people's ordinary lives. The author's life was simple and hard as a child, but he was happy and that was the life he... Read morePublished 19 months ago by MPFried
A Luminous Future is a gripping account of the author’s childhood in Romania during the Communist era. Read morePublished 20 months ago by thrillergirl
Continents apart, the author's family and my family in Korea experienced the similar life under communism in practice: the life controlled by the state in the pretext of a... Read morePublished 21 months ago by Hi-Dong Chai
A Luminous Future is a riveting eye-witness account of the inner strength it takes, for a young child, his family, and the people of his little village, to overcome adversity... Read morePublished 21 months ago by Uvi Poznansky
This is probably going to be my longest review ever. Let me start by saying if I could have given this book 10 stars, I would have. Read morePublished 22 months ago by Carolyn