Occult Beds

Occult Beds - Doina Ruști
Litera, 2023 (Romanian)
Occult Beds - Doina Ruști
Litera, 2020 (Romanian)

The Ghost of Communism Past The Birth of Post-Communist Gothic Fiction, Zittaw Press, 2011

"Writing The Ghost in the Mill in order to exorcise the haunting spectre of communist times,
Doina Ruști marks an interesting break with the Romanian literary tradition. In tune with
international trends, she follows the pattern of ghost stories to reactivate a dreadful past that would not be stifled or silenced. Through the intrusion of unexplainable spectres in the life of a rural community under dictatorial rule and through the central image of a threatening and luring old mill, Ruști manages to create a Gothic novel born out of a history of fear, secrets, betrayal, guilt and broken ties. In so doing, she moves beyond the magic realism to which many writers resorted in the late communist and early post-communist period in an attempt to escape the levelling pressure of socialist realism and the censorship that came along with it. Although her use of Gothic themes and motifs represents a deviation from both old and new Romanian literary norms, which have never really accommodated the genre, the negotiation of the collective past with the tools provided by the Gothic ultimately proved successful, bringing the author high critical acclaim and international recognition. Ruști capitalizes on the genre’s interest in individual trauma and unrest, in the shattered autonomy of the individual, in the loss of coherence, wholeness and in fragmented consciousnesses, in failed relationships, oppression and suffocating anxiety. She deftly adapts the seemingly unlikely Gothic toolbox to Romanian social realities before December 1989, making the most of the genre’s tried and tested disquieting, disruptive potential"

In her novels, Doina Rusti creates scenarios and psychologies that unreel like the windows of a hypertext.’ .

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