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Book cover  Disclaimer: this is a Romanian book and I personally know the author.

  The book is a journey of a woman, starting from an 18 year old ingenue and ending as a mother and a wife considering her life choices. Perhaps ending is not the right word, since "the game" is about the journey, rather than a specific destination, and the character's story continues after the finale of the book. Split into three narrative flows, the story quickly switches between inner thoughts and external events, fantastical fairy tale concepts and their emotional connections to the character's real life.

  I started reading with dread. It's about women. They're crazy, right? And various sources, that I was actually trying to avoid in fear of spoiling the book, were whispering things that ranged from teenage sex scenes to dramatic philosophical musings. And it was all correct, only I actually liked the book. What I think happened is that it fell under the category of autobiographies, a genre that I am appreciating a lot as it opens my eyes to how other people see the world.

  Em Madara is taking pieces of her soul and crafts a dramatized version of life where she examines her life choices, but also goes further, taking the stratospheric view of people being possible versions of a single identity that they don't remember, of all life teetering between light and darkness, life or death, pleasure and pain, left or right, a choice and another.

  In Hide and Seek (the English translated title) you get hormonal infatuation, self destructive behaviors, temptations and hard personal choices, family drama, love for children, animals or life in general, self exploration, but also Daoist philosophy, Romanian, German and Russian folklore, movie, music and literary references, all bits and pieces of a mosaic that, in the end (Ende is goal in German), make up a single person.

  All in all, a solid novel and a very good beginning for a new writer.


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