The Original Feeling of Innocence is an ambitious and high-quality work of literary fiction.
Bank worker Victoria has been placed on leave of absence following a bank robbery at which she was present. During the police investigations, Victoria is referred to a therapist, and is free to wander around her native city of Bucharest in the baking hot summer.
Victoria’s childhood fascination with chess reflects the complexity of the novel’s own moves. A series of non-linear narratives play with the initial story of the bank robbery, without ever fully resolving it. The novel focuses on Bucharest past and present, telling the stories of the narrator and her circle and beautifully evoking the sights, sounds and smells of the city in the intense summer heat. As well as personal stories about Victoria there are tales about figures from Romanian history and anecdotes about well-known public events in Bucharest during the transition from communism, ranging from demonstrations against the Ceaucescu regime through to Michael Jackson’s famous tour stop in Bucharest, where he accidently greeted his fans with ‘Hello Budapest’. This is a rich and rewarding read with a deep vein of dark humour that will work well on the international stage.