Doina Ruști

Four men plus Aurelius (Patru bărbați plus Aurelius)

Four men plus Aurelius (Patru bărbați plus Aurelius) - Doina Ruști
Polirom Publishing, 2011 (Romanian)

Fast-paced, sinewy, with a thriller-like plot, countless surprises and out-of-the-ordinary events, the novel is a page-turner.

Four Men Plus Aurelius is set in a film studio, where a mysterious man turns up one day, claiming that there is a character in the novel Madame Bovary that no one except him can remember. As a result, everybody stops what they are doing and goes off to reread Flaubert’s novel. This proves to be more problematic than it would have seemed, however. The premise on which Doina Rusti’s novel is based also provides an occasion for remembrance, on the part of the central character, Licia, who falls in love with the newcomer. The men in her life – tempters, seducers, and inconstant heartbreakers – re-emerge in her memory one by one, transfigured and burdened with old guilt. This adventure, which blends together murder, sentimentality, and a tomcat that is simultaneously loved and hated, gradually replaces the narrative of the conventional novel. For, this is literature that is also about literature…