13 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on November 1, 2012
For the life of me I don't get the 5 star reviews and glowing blogs on GR, Amazon and the web concerning this book. Of course I could not find any actual big time reviewers that had published anything on Out of the Transylvania Night, but even so -- FIVE STARS?? I think not. I saw one reviewer call it a Cinderella story. Huh? It's about as close in theme to Cinderella as War and Peace is to Rapunzel.
I bought this book because there is so little written about the horror of the Ceausescu years and their aftermath that is readable, and I saw all of the glowing reviews. So much for believing everything you read. I learned very little about what I really set out to learn.
To be fair, this is an inspirational story. But it is not a particularly unique memoir, as memoirs go. Recent memoirs of the horrors of living through World War II (When God Looked the Other Way or The Ice Road) are far more inspirational and far better written. If you want to see the human spirit at work, read about starving with your family in a Soviet gulag and surviving. That is transcendent.
My big problem with this book is the way that it is written. Again, to be fair, the author is not a native English speaker, but where it the world was her editor? The narrative rocks along between young adult speak full of idioms and the most purple of purple prose. Examples of the former: "he did not come on to me" "he started his spiel" "we played phone tag" "my water works had dried up" "How could I ever level with her now?" "Can I have a word with you guys? (meaning her parents)." I expect that kind of writing from a teenager, not a grown woman. It really got annoying.
Examples of purple prose included: " I beheld the immensity and splendor of the Pacific Ocean" "freezing, ice limned mornings with the sun's rays dazzling the world into crystalline glory." Oh my goodness! In the same book narrated by the same author.
Then sprinkled throughout were words like oideja vu and solipsist, which don't exactly fit into the "coming on to me" YA speak narrative and stood out like gratuitous SAT words. The writing was so in need of editing, that I wanted to get out my Professor's red pen. Passive-voice sentences abounded. Punctuation was nothing like I've ever seen before with semi-colons and hyphens used willy-nilly. Abbreviations were used with no explanations (e.g. GMs of factories instead of general managers). I thought she was talking about General Motors!
What comes through in this book is that the author is a bright, ambitious, hard working immigrant of the kind that the U.S. has build on and who made it great. She is also energetic and charismatic. Sadly, she was ill served by her editors and publisher. If she'd had some competent, mature and thoughtful guidance and critique, she could have had a good memoir here. I would still have been disappointed from the standpoint of someone who wanted to learn more about Romania, but at least the writing might have not been so thoroughly annoying.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on November 26, 2013
Don't waste your time with this one! I have read many accounts of the Romanian Revolution, but this one is not one that I enjoyed. Maybe it might be OK for middle school kids that were studying that period of time.
9 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on October 5, 2010
If you don't want to loose sleep don't read this over the top exciting book before going to sleep. It is seriously a thrill to go through Aura's experience in Communist Romania and make you appreciate your life in America. Her writing style and voice, makes you think about her until you can pick up the book again. I loved it and know you will want to recommend it to everyone you know.
4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on September 23, 2010
Wow, I am a bit nervous here. This is my first actual posting of a novel and I thought I would try to start off with one that really tugged at my heart and made me think really hard about myself and those around me. Out of the Transylvania Night is that novel and it has so many different facets. It is hard to quantify to what genre this novel belongs. It contains history, plenty of action, suspense, drama, heart wrenching moments and romance all wrapped up neatly within the covers. Aura Imbarus has put together an amazing work that made me get in touch with feelings I didn't know I had and some I wish I didn't. That is not a bad thing though.
The history of the character's life, the trials and tribulations that she went through are gut wrenching, uplifting, sad and joyous. I feel that if one couldn't gain something from reading this novel either they are heartless or totally unfeeling. That is how strongly I feel about the novel, and why I chose this as the first one I wanted to write about. Pick this novel up, digest it, embrace it, enjoy it; I did. Have you read the novel? What are your thoughts? I would love to compare them to see if I off the mark here. Feel free to leave a comment.
Here are Aura Imbarus's links, check them out. FYI: You can go into my Amazon Bookstore and get the novel without leaving the blog.
Aura Imbarus, PhD
Author of "Out of the Transylvania Night"
Available at Barnes&Noble and Amazon
When I first read this title, I immediately thought, oh a vampire book. I was never so off-track in my life!! Out of the Transylvania Night is a memoir and it is a story of which you will never forget.
Living under communist regime, life is nothing as we know it. To have any individuality was frowned upon. Aura loved her bits of buttons and zippers to get away from the gray that was everywhere. There were securities everywhere, eyes watching your every move, some you thought has beloved friends or neighbors, informants. You could trust no one with anything. And then sometimes people just...disappeared.
When politics prevail and life still does not change, Aura and her new husband go to America, looking for the American Dream. Surely it would be easier and they could relax their shoulders a bit. But even here, there are pitfalls and Aura has to look within herself to answer some hard questions. How much is enough?
Beautifully written, with vivid painted backgrounds, Aura speaks to you like she was sitting in the room over a coffee. Politics, romance, history and the human spirit all weave together to create a remarkable story, Aura's life. If you enjoy reading memoirs, you will want to pick this one up. It's an amazing read!!
on August 16, 2015
This book should win the Nobel Prize for one of the best example's of triumph of the human spirit. I've lived in America all of my life so I am used to freedom. Aura didn't have that, but she broke free from the chains of Communism, moved here, rose to success and demonstrated how everyone can achieve freedom of spirit if they really want it. I read Gabriel Garcia Marquez's award winning book: ONE HUNDRED YEARS OF SOLITUDE. It won the Novel Prize for Literature, I believe, back around 1985? This book is equally well written but the difference is that Mocondo (?) a town in Marquez's book, is made up; it's not real. Everything in Out of the Transylvania Night comes across as very real because I'm sure that it is.
on June 4, 2015
There is a glaring historical mistake right on the first page of the book. Where it reads "Part One", there is a quote attributed to Vlad II about the servant holding his nose about the stench to which, supposedly, Vlad II Prince of Wallachia responds by impaling the man and telling him that he will live "up there where the stench does not reach him". This quote is originally attributed to a story surrounding a woodcut about a scene around the city of Brasso, called the Forrest of the Impaled. HOWEVER it is not Vlad II who is in the woodcut - it is Vlad III - the Impaler - Tepes. I am surprised that with so many reviewers, nobody was able to catch this before the book as sent to the printer.
6 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on January 1, 2011
Out of Transilvania night is a wonderful book, easy to read and in the same time a book that makes you think about life, family, relations and of course about God and our relation with Him.
Aura, a teenager in 1989 in a communist Romania wanted more for herself and her family.
The story is fascinating and I highly recommend it!
One criteria I have for a 5 Star book is that once done reading I continue to think about what I read. Out of the Transylvania Night by Aura Imbarus is definitely a book that I am still thinking about.
Aura’s memoir of her life in Romania and subsequent immigration to America is remarkable. I must admit my own knowledge of world events is lacking. A revolution in Romania? In fact give me a blank map and I’d have a hard time correctly identifying just where in the world Romania is. Despite my admitted lack of knowledge on world history and geography this book drew me in and held my interest. A book that had me searching the internet for more information on the author, Romania and Nadia Comaneci.
Aura’s story of growing up in Communist Romania is a story of hope and the struggle for freedom. This captivating book details the difficulties encountered by those who legally immigrate to America. From trying to obtain a job to learning how to order a meal at McDonalds, Aura’s description of her life as an immigrant was eye opening. Through her pursuit of the American dream Aura loses herself and those that she loves but ultimately through her journey rediscovers her roots, her loves and herself.
Out of the Transylvania Night is the story of overcoming trials, achieving goals, following your heart, remaining true to yourself and finding real happiness. Aura Imbarus show us there is more to living the American Dream than owning a nice car.
Content: A little language in a couple scenes but otherwise a clean read.
Rating: 5 Stars to this very memorable book.
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on October 7, 2010
In a world which needs to embrace more from the ineffable principles of the universe, it is such a blessing to discover the beauty and greatness of a soul which reveals itself in all its fundamental genuineness!
Personally, I think "Out of the Transylvania Night" is a precious treasure full of sensitivity and spirituality, a treasure which comes out to the light with an overflowing Romanian conscience of courage, freedom, truth, love, and giving.
I read this book being totally immersed and overwhelmed by full-of-life memories, memories from my past as well...My mind, heart, and soul reunited in joy, sadness, revolt, relief and especially in a vital need for ascending beyond all what made us the slaves of a Romanian communist nightmare starting from those still unborn and ending with the oldest, the most hurt, and those who lack hope.
And then, learning about the life's dear secrets of Aura Imbarus, I felt a "deja-vu" feeling in my own universe, enjoying and crying, reviving and raising with each emotion and feeling of hers, rediscovering myself, finding her and admiring her!
What more can I say? Well, there are so much to be said and yet I feel that if I think I said everything, there, in the dense shadow, much more will still remain to be confessed...
All Romanians from everywhere, (and not only Romanians!), please receive as a special gift such a beautiful genuineness of a naked soul which was already given to us, a dare to hope that each will find a way to fly so close to Aura and to the eternal Phoenix bird which undoubtedly put her essence inside of each of us; and let's enjoy, unchain ourselves, and especially fulfill and elevate ourselves so far away as this can be possible for each of us!
In total admiration for the courage and genuineness of Aura,
Antonela Simmermaker, Artist