The Romanian – Bruce Benderson

Romanian(Not discussed by the group but written in a personal capacity.)

The London group discussed this so I thought I would take a look.

The book begins with places that are familiar to me – Budapest, its waterfront, the Gellert Hotel and its famous baths.

It moves to Romania, also familiar to me through a friend for whom it is fascinating.

Some descriptions are unpleasant – such as the protagonist taking pleasure from sucking a hustler’s cock while is still pungent from the pussy of its previous hire.

Some are wrong – genuflecting women in a Russian orthodox church – they may protrate but genuflection is a Western practice.

Some are typical – the situationist who sees barebacking as a protest.

There’s a moving description of boy beggars, particularly the one with no legs.

We get the atmosphere of pre-EU Romania with its dogs, thieves and hustlers. Also of the taxi drivers who rip off tourists by overcharging, which I recognised as being very similar to Cairo.

All in all, I found this book boring, a chore to get through.

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