Who is Paul Goma?
PAUL GOMA (1935-). A native of Mana, Orhei, Paul Goma is among his contemporaries the best-known Romanian-language writer born in Bessarabia, reputed first in neighboring Romania, where his family took refuge in 1944. After serving time in jail and penal deportation for his anti-Communist views (1957-1964), he was allowed to make his literary debut in 1968, during the East-West détente, but thereafter his writings were turned down by Romania’s censorship and Goma soon became one of the few outspoken political dissidents in Romania to earn international recognition, as his forbidden novels started to appear in the West, in French and German translations. Throughout the 1970s he was harrassed by Romania’s political police, arrested, brutalized and finally expelled from Romania in 1977. He settled in France where he continued to write and publish anti-Communist literature in the guise of novels and recollections, many of them featuring reminiscences from jail and totalitarian persecution, and last but not least, in a polemic vein, his place of birth, Bessarabia. His childhood experiences and his life-long struggle against Communism left a strong stamp on his writing and can be encountered in his prose, a creative mix of documents, historical facts, recollections and fiction. Eugene Ionesco compared Paul Goma’s dissident writing with that of the famous Soviet novelist Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn (in Le Monde, 9 March 1979). In 1993, in one of Goma’s several controversial gestures, Goma refused President Mircea Snegur’s official invitation to visit Moldova. Goma’s continued interest in his native land appears in many of his recent polemical pieces of journalism and fiction. Paul Goma is the author of Nistria, an unusual blueprint for the revival of Moldova’s economy --in fact a piece of utopian literature in the vein of SF writings. Other recent writings by Paul Goma include Săptămâna Roşie, 2005 (The Red Week), a controversial attempt to explain and document the way in which the 28 June-3 July 1940 events in Bessarabia’s history influenced the atrocities perpetrated by the Romanian troops before and after 22 June 1941.
[Source: Historical Dictionary of Moldova, 2nd edition, 2007, Andrei Brezianu and Vlad Spânu, Scarecrow Press]
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