Octavian Curpas already retold for us Andersen’s fairy tale and he is always willing to recount stories of books he has read. And, going by the gifted critic’s accounts, there remains no reason to doubt that the original stories he interprets were written by authors of extraordinary talent. Sometimes he provides us with interpretations of books that are not available in our area and which we will never get to read. We can only imagine those astonishing – according to his description – creations and we know they are, at least temporarily, inaccessible to us. It is as if the spiritual light they emanate is truly the fastidious and intangible light of a boreal cloud that arose from the ionization of the mind’s emissions under the influence of the radiation of fantasy (according to the physics definition).
Octavian’s interpretations are usually lengthy, giving the impression that the work presented is recounted in great detail, which leads some to believe that they no longer need to read the original text. This is a false impression, as Octavian’s endeavors represent syntheses. He has the ability to grasp the essence of the text and otherwise create a concise monograph.
His titles are catchy, summative phrases. A review of a book by Vavilia Popovich, for example, is titled ‘Mom’s Book’ – Memories with the scent of days past in a prose poem authored by Vavila Popovich. Another review of a book of poems by Daniela Voiculescu is called “How is it like to live on poetry in a time of angels”. The title of an article dedicated to one of Melania Cuc’s novels reads ‘Babilon Lace’ or how it feels like to be a hostage in a modern historical novel about tragic destinies and the ordinary man’s psychological crisis. Another text about a novel by Ligia Seman is called “The image of God reflected in a novel about a quest at the time of discovering the meaning of life”. A presentation of a book of poetry by Petru Lascau is titled religious verses bordering between meditation and contemplation: “The signature of love” by Petru Lascau. And finally, the exegesis of the latest book of poetry by Victorita Dutu is called ‘I want a different world’ by Victorita Dutu – Christian poetry about eternity, love, and humility.
His titles are oftentimes followed by a sympathetic motto, usually selected from the book under review (“The memories, as they were narrated to me, surge upon me like a torrent. They contain too much of reality in them, a beautiful and yet painful jungle of reality… As in a dream, I imagine centuries past…’; ‘I don’t know why, but I still preferred the color grey’).
The beginning of the exposition is abrupt and confounding (Is it easy or is it difficult to fight sleep?), or informative and austere (Vavila Popovici is the author of numerous books of poetry and prose), or gnomic (Petru Lascau is a poet of the religious ecstasy), or meant to create a certain atmosphere through associations with a different epoch (At the beginning of the nineteenth century Napoleon’s armies had control over all of Europe. Russia was one of the few countries that he had not yet conquered), or attempting to prepare the reader for what is to come (In 1970 the American director Arthur Hiller won an Oscar for a wildly successful film entitled simply ‘Love story’).
Then, with a few biographic remarks and a note on the literary accomplishments of the author in question, with some general statements about the work, with an analysis of the plot and characters (if the work is a novel), and after establishing any literary filiation and offering some text samples, Octavian Curpas manages to construct a well rounded and perfectly balanced whole, which he then seals with a closing statement.
Along the way, the critic sheds light upon the elements which confer artistic value to the book and reveals to the reader the underlying meaning of the text, the one that is harder to grasp, yet necessary in order to reinforce the literary value of the text.
Writer by vocation and journalist by training (having completed journalistic, paralegal and business studies), Octavian D. Curpas is a kind of character that is rarely encountered on the journalistic scene these days. He puts his gift, his passion and his dedication in his writing. He wants to assure us (and we feel we should believe him) that every work he brings to the attention of the reader is the book of the year in terms of technical achievement, and a work of unmatched beauty in terms of artistic quality, absolute and splendid as only a realm covered in eternal snow can be. In fact, Octavian’s texts strike an even higher note than Andersen’s ‘The Snow Queen’ because his stories about wondrous books always end before that moment when Gretchen brings Karl back to the mundane reality.
Inexplicably, no one wants to leave their place of detention because when you are free you have no desire to escape, you have no reason to run. From now on, both the past and the present will occur in the future tense because there is another story to be written, a story that has not yet begun. The gift, the inspiration and the work ‘wasted’ for the benefit of others, and as of now, not yet gathered in a well deserved (by the author and all the rest of us) book.
From now on, the Imbrium Sea will carry its waves to the shore and, perhaps someday, the poet who praised its beauty will find not only the long sought ideal, but also the answer to a seemingly rhetorical question: ‘Who is the queen of Saba?’.
The Snow Queen. No matter what color the muse is (the not necessarily historic, but the rather enigmatic ‘muse’ of Solomon). Because here, in Octavian’s chronics, contrary to Andersen’s tale and contrary to the realities of life, everything is reflected in a conscience that sees nothing but beauty.