Née en 1960 à Braşov, en Roumanie, Ioana Pârvulescu est sortie diplômée de la faculté des lettres de l'université de Bucarest en 1983 et s’est imposée comme figure particulière au sein des cercles littéraires. Depuis 1996, elle enseigne la littérature moderne dans cette même faculté. Elle a assuré la coordination de la série Cartea de pe noptieră (Livre de chevet) aux éditions Humanitas et a été rédactrice au journal littéraire România literară. Elle a également traduit, du français et de l’allemand, plusieurs livres de Maurice Nadeau, Angelus Silesius, Rainer Maria Rilke, Milan Kundera et Saint-Exupéry, ainsi qu’un album de la bande dessinée Astérix de René Goscinny et Albert Uderzo. Elle a publié divers livres à succès (essais) au sujet de la vie quotidienne au XIXe siècle, entre les deux Guerres mondiales et en période de communisme. En 2018 est paru son livre Dialoguri secrete, Secret Dialogues, qui traite des prières de plusieurs personnages issus de la littérature des quatre coins du monde. Elle a également écrit quatre romans très bien reçus par le public : Viața începe vineri (2009 ; La vie commence vendredi, 2016, pour la traduction française), Viitorul începe luni (2012 ; L’avenir commence lundi, pas encore paru), Inocenții, (2016 ; litt. : « Les innocents ») et enfin Prevestirea (2020 ; litt. : « La prophétie »).
Elle a également remporté le prix du jury professionnel lors du concours organisé à l’occasion du 10e anniversaire d’EUPL (2018) avec la nouvelle The Voice.
Translated by Alistair Ian Blythe
I like to read in the carriage. Mama takes me to task; Papa, who never forgets, not even en famille, that he is Dr Leon Margulis, primary physician with a surgery behind the National Theatre, says that I will ruin my eyes and give birth to nearsighted children. But I am obstinate and still bring a book with me. Back in their day they probably had the time to read and do lots of other things, but we youngsters have to dole out our hours with care. I could hardly wait to find out what Becky would get up to next in Vanity Fair. Although truth to tell, I think that I am more like that silly Amelia, and I shall end up loving some rascal all my life. Today I had no luck with my reading. Firstly, because my hands were frozen. And then, no sooner did we climb into the carriage than Mama and Papa, chopping the subject as finely as our cook does the parsley, began to dissect the case of the unidentified man Petre found lying in the snow this morning, in a field near the Băneasa woods and lakes. He was taken to the Prefecture of Police and placed under arrest. Mama, who is up to date on absolutely everything, says he is a fugitive from the madhouse and that he must have been driven insane by too much learning. And here she gave me a minatory look: “It is high time that Iulia decided on a decent man to marry.” Papa examined the stranger at the request of Costache, our friend from the Police, and said that he was not a vagrant, despite his wearing unbelievably odd clothes. Perhaps he is a clown from the circus. He is otherwise clean and has no “physiological” flaws apart from the fact that he does sometimes talk in a garbled way. If he is a madman, then he is a cultivated madman; he “couches his words nicely”. But when Papa asked him whether he had tuberculosis, the man gave him a scornful look, as if infuriated, and answered cuttingly: “You’re a two-bit actor!” Papa replied, as gravely as he does whatever the situation: “Sir, if you please, I am not an actor, but a physician!” He added that his lungs sounded a little congested, that he was very pale, but that he could not find any serious illness. The man calmed down and said that he would like to smoke. Papa, who is against the habit, nonetheless brought him some fine tobacco and rolling papers from Costache’s desk, but said that the man under arrest, after giving him a savage glance, quite simply turned his back on him. He is ill bred! They retained his valise for examination, a silver box, like a safe, which indicates that he might be a money forger, but they released him after keeping him under arrest for only an hour and following a brief interrogation by Costache. On finding himself free, he straightaway made himself scarce. But the best coachman in the Police was assigned to follow him unobtrusively.