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The White King by Gyorgy Dragoman

The White King (2005)

by Gyorgy Dragoman

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English (6)  Danish (1)  French (1)  Hungarian (1)  All (9)
Showing 1-5 of 6 (next | show all)
Eleven year old boy in eastern Europe (nothern Romania?) is forced to grow up as his father goes away to work, when he's really taken away to do slave labour. As time goes on, Djata realizes the truth about the world and system he is living in and how it affects his parents and friends. A very touching story with the recent history of Europe as an extra dimension. ( )
  casparia | Sep 13, 2014 |
Indigoaalane Ma lihtsalt olen sunnitud loetud raamatutest kirjutama, sel põhjusel, et inimesed ei laseks end eksitada kaupluste avaldatud tutvustustest. Ma ei tea kes ja millises seisundis neid küll kirjutab ja kas see kirjutaja resümeeritavat teost eelnevalt ka ise lugenud on. Või on inimeste arusaamised lihtsalt nii erinevad?
Loe edasi:
http://indigoaalane.blogspot.com/2014... ( )
  Indigoaalane | Jul 18, 2014 |
I can not decide how I feel about this book. The storytelling was unusual and real at the same time, using the point of view of an 11 year old boy exactly as it should be used, with long sentences, occasional interruptions, and rambling explanations for things. The way the book was written alone had me glued to the pages from cover to cover, the writing style was exceptionally attractive and well molded to the setting.

As far as the plot goes, it was very interesting to watch a child grow up in a country where his father was taken away for treason and his once famous family have had to cope around that in a country where everyone is a comrade and all working for the greater good. I did feel as if there were times when Djata was a little too oblivious to what was actually happening and maybe seemed to be written a lot younger than his eleven years, but that didn't turn me away from the plot. What did disappoint was not really understanding the ending as an ending itself. The story did feel as if it had come full circle, but I was left feeling as if maybe, if I could turn one more page, things would have been a little more settled in my mind. ( )
  mirrani | Aug 4, 2013 |
Definitely an interesting and unusual book but for some reason it left me cold.

Set in an unnamed country, the story follows the adventures of an 11 year old boy called Djata over a period of two years. Although the country is unnamed in the book I think it's supposed to be similar to Romania in the 1980s so there has been some sort of war/revolution and the country is now under the control of an unnamed, brutal and violent totalitarian regime. Djata's father has been taken away and much of the book is focused on Djata's thoughts and fears for his father.

The writing itself is fast and fluid, with the words almost falling over themselves as you read through each sentence. It's exactly like a young boy would talk and feels as if Djata is there telling you his story in person.

I think part of my problem with the book was due to the format. Although we follow Djata over a two year period, the book is almost a collection of short stories rather than one continuous narrative and I found myself thinking 'but then what happened?' at the end of each one. That's probably more to do with me not liking short stories than any fault of the author.

The other thing I didn't like so much about this book was the violence. The adventures Djata and his friends had in some ways seemed quite natural for boys of their age; they played with toy soldiers, there was a lot of bragging and swaggering but then two gangs of children had a war and started stabbing each other. In such a violent regime, I'm sure some of this would rub off on the children growing up in such a regime. If all they see is violence then that's all they'll know, but I didn't really like reading about it.

And I didn't understand the ending! Which again, is not the author's fault but I find it so frustrating.

I feel like I've been rather unfair on this book. It is a good book; it's interesting, unusual and well written. But I don't think I liked it. ( )
1 vote souloftherose | Jan 25, 2011 |
I loved this wonderful coming-of-age story set in Ceausecu's Romania. It opens as 11 year old Djata's father is taken away, telling his son that he will be working on a special project and will return soon. The novel is episodic, and Djata's belief in his father's promise and his basic good humor and optimisim usually prevail over the deprivations he and his mother suffer, and the cruelty gratuitously inflicted on children by some adults who hold positions of trust over the children. This is a touching, though at times graphic and disturbing, book, and I highly recommend it.

4 stars ( )
2 vote arubabookwoman | Dec 5, 2010 |
Showing 1-5 of 6 (next | show all)
The White King is a collection of connected short stories inspired by Dragomán's experiences during the 1980s. The narrator, 11-year-old Djata, is a resilient but sensitive boy living in a world that seems designed by Joseph Stalin and Roald Dahl. Dragomán creates a nostalgic childhood, full of the games and pranks that mischievous scamps have always pursued -- playing hooky, pestering weird neighbors, daring each other to eat this or jump over that -- but in the dark days of Ceausescu's police state, the atmosphere is so poisoned, physically and psychologically, that boys' make-believe dangers constantly risk becoming deadly.
This disturbing, compelling, beautifully translated novel - the first by the Hungarian György Dragomán to be published in English, and winner of the Sándor Márai Prize - is set in an unnamed totalitarian, communist regime, based on the nationalist, Stalinist, poverty-stricken Romania of the 1980s where Dragomán grew up.

» Add other authors (20 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Gyorgy Dragomanprimary authorall editionscalculated
Olchváry, PaulTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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The night before, I stuck the alarm clock under my pillow so only I would hear it ring and Mother wouldn't wake up, but as it turned out I was awake even before it went off, that's how wound up I was for the surprise.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0618945172, Hardcover)

An international sensation, this startling and heartbreaking debut introduces us to precocious eleven-year-old Djata, whose life in the totalitarian state he calls home is about to change forever.

Djata doesn’t know what to make of the two men who lead his father away one day, nor does he understand why his mother bursts into tears when he brings her tulips on her wedding anniversary. He does know that he must learn to fill his father’s shoes, even though among his friends he is still a boy: fighting with neighborhood bullies, playing soccer on radioactive grass, having inappropriate crushes, sneaking into secret screening rooms, and shooting at stray cats with his gun-happy grandfather. But the random brutality of Djata’s world is tempered by the hilarious absurdity of the situations he finds himself in, by his enduring faith in his father’s return, and by moments of unexpected beauty, hope, and kindness.
Structured as a series of interconnected stories propelled by the energy of Dragomán’s riveting prose, the chapters of The White King collectively illuminate the joys and humiliations of growing up, while painting a multifaceted and unforgettable portrait of life in an oppressive state and its human cost. And as in the works of Mark Haddon, David Mitchell, and Marjane Satrapi, Djata’s child’s-eye view lends power and immediacy to his story, making us laugh and ache in recognition and reminding us all of our shared humanity.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:06:17 -0400)

General Adult. Insisting that he always remain home on Sundays, the day two State Security officers came to take his father away, eleven-year-old Djata believes it will be a Sunday when his father is finally sent home again, struggling to fill his fathers shoes while enjoying the noral activities of boyhood, in a childs-eye view of life in a totalitarian state. A first novel.… (more)

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