Romania Insider book review: Why we love women? by Mircea Cartarescu
Guest writer Mariana Ganea writes about 'Why we love women', a book by Romanian contemporary writer Mircea Cartarescu. The book was also translated into English (link on Amazon).
On a hot summer holiday day, idling on a beach somewhere in an amazing Greek Island, I opened the second book I took with me. I like so much to read, especially on a sunny morning. I was just finishing Scott Fitzgerald's novel “The Great Gatsby” and, full of sadness for the lost and helpless Gatsby’s love, I open my second book “Why we love women?” written by Mircea Cartarescu.
I don’t know what inner urge pushed me to take these two books on holiday, but, I’m sure something very subliminal and almost insidious acted. In that summer holiday I read two astonishing books about love. Mircea Cartarescu’s novel was like a drug that relieved my bitterness after Gatsby’s story.
I want to be fair, I’m not a literature expert I’m only a lover of reading, I don’t dare to make comparisons, I’m writing only what I felt. Something strange was happening, I “saw” two ways of understanding love. I needed to share with you, our readers, my feelings after reading one of the most complete, astounding Romanian books about love that I have read.
This collection of short stories contains many faces of love, the love men feel for woman. In my opinion, this book shows the subtle mix between the cultural and the erotic dimensions of love. The cultural references which delighted me are presented almost in all stories which compose the book, from Salinger, Kafka, to Dostoevsky, Goethe, Rilke, from Joyce, Nabokov, D.H.Lawrence to Nieztche.
This book takes us by the hand and leads through Amsterdam's little old streets, the huge boulevards of San Francisco, the dark streets of Belfast, the famous streets of Paris or the old historical streets of Krakow. The erotic dimension of love, dizzied the reader with its Irish coffee smells, with its sweet and mentholated French perfumes, with the irresistible pleasure of sexuality, with the mixed smells of bodies making love.
I think my words are too bare to show the beauty of this real, true Discourse about love and I’ll give you few “samples” of the irresistible Cartarescu’s words :
“ The most wonderful woman in this world is the woman who sincerely loves you and, whom you sincerely love” ( We love with child brain)
“ Maybe Goethe best guessed the criteria of happiness : you are really happy when you want to stop the time and you want to keep that moment for a whole eternity”. (Two kinds of happiness)
“Love, with its strong cultural dimension, aspires to be disposed of in the most intense moments of the sexual encounter, as part of the cerebral shell cloaking our nudity. In many couples, the fantasy of partners depersonalizing, forgetting the link between them, increases erotic pleasure. In spite of those, something from this connection of minds in a real couple that we call love, something essential and too little talked about, survives against any devastating symbolical denude. It is the intense love between two bodies” (About privacy)
“Because they have round breasts, with nipples that come up through their blouses when they're cold, because they have big and cute fat buts, because they have nice faces with children traits, because they have full lips, decent teeth and tongues that aren't gross. Because they don't smell like sweat or like bad tobacco and they don't sweat on their upper lip. Because they smile to every little child that they pass by. Because they walk straight on the street, with their head up and their shoulders pulled back and they don't respond to your look when you stare at them like a maniac. Because they get over all problems of their delicate anatomy with a great courage. Because in bed they are daring and inventive not out of perversity, but to show you that they love you. Because they make every annoying work at home without bragging or asking for any gratefulness. Because they don't read porn magazines and they don't surf on porn web-sites. Because they wear all kinds of beads and stuff that they match to their clothes following complicated and in-understandable rules. Because they draw and paint their faces with an artist's attention and concentration. Because they have an obsession for being slim, just like Giacometti. Because they come out of little girls. Because they use nail-varnish on their toe-nails. Because they play chess, whist and ping-pong without caring who wins. Because they drive attentively well-polished cars, that look like candies and when they stop at the traffic lights and you pass in front of them on the zebra-crossing, they can't wait for you to admire them. Because they have a way of solving problems that drives you crazy. Because they tell you "I love you" when they love you at least, like a sort of compensation. Because they don't masturbate. Because they suffer a little from time to time: rheumatism, constipation, blisters...and then you realize suddenly that women are also human beings ,just like you are. Because they write either in a delicate way, collecting tiny observations and drawing a sketch of subtle psychological nuances, or in a brutal way, so that they won't be suspected of feminist literature. Because they are extraordinary readers, for whom three quarters of the world's poems and prose are written. Because they're crazy about "Angie" from the Rolling Stones. Because Cohen drives them nuts. Because they are always at war with cockroaches and no one knows why. Because even the toughest business-woman wears lace-and-tiny-flowers underwear. Because it feels so strange to put your wife's underwear to dry , some wet things, black ,red, white, being surprised what little surfaces they cover. Because in movies they never take a shower before making love, but just in movies. Because they never agree with you regarding the beauty of another woman or another man. Because they take life seriously, because they really seem to believe in reality. Because they are really interested in who with whom hangs around in the VIPs world. Because they remember the names of actors and actresses, even if they appear only once in scene. Because they don't think of how to screw the hot guy they see in the underground. Because they drink stupid things,like Martini Orange,Tonic Gin or Vanilla Coke. Because they only pinch your butt in ads. Because they are blonde,brown-haired,red-haired, sweet,warm, cute, because they come every single time. Because if they don't have an orgasm, they don't say they had. Because the best moment of the day is the coffee in the morning, when for an hour you both nibble cookies and plan the day.
Because they are women,and not men and not anything else. Because we come out of them and we return into them, because our mind, like a big, heavy planet, forever and ever,turns only around them. (Why we love women?).
Did I succeed to persuade you to read this book? I hope so.
About the author
Mircea Cartarescu is a contemporary Romanian writer. He was born in Bucharest in 1956 and he graduated the Faculty of Letters from University of Bucharest. He is seen as one of the most outstanding poets, novelists and essayists in Romania. Mircea Cartarescu wrote love poems: Love poems (1982), Everything (1984), The Levant (1990, Writers Union Prize), Love (1994). His best known novels are : Travesti (1994 Writers Union Prize, translated in Spanish, Dutch and French), Blinding (1996, translated in French by Gallimard), Diary (2001-2003), Why we love women? (2004), Beautiful strangers (2010). His essays are mostly focused on Romanian postmodernism. Mircea Cartarescu is one of the most translated Romanian writers.
About the book
“Why we love women?” is one of the best known and appreciated novels written by Mircea Cartarescu. This novel was translated in English within the Romanian Cultural Institute and University of Plymouth Press partnership in 2011. The novel is a collection of 20 short stories with women as characters, which previously was published in ELLE magazine.
By Mariana Ganea, Guest Writer
Mariana holds a PhD in Economics and she has been working in banking since 1991. Now, she is senior training consultant in banking and she is also freelance authorized trainer in soft skills and financial banking techniques. She studied banking techniques, communication, sales, NPL, coaching and transactional analysis. She is passionate about education, travel, history, politics, music, reading, movies, cultural events and photography.
The views expressed are her own and do not necessarily reflect those of Romania Insider.com.