The White King
Set in an East European communist totalitarian country in the 1970-1980s, this novel is narrated by an 11-year-old boy known just as Djata. The security police seize Djata’s father one morning for anti-state activities, and he and his mother have to adjust to their changed circumstances. The book is divided into a number of episodes, each one covering the scrapes and adventures that Djata gets into, narrated in a breathless and ingenuous style – the perspective of young boy who does not fully understand all that is going on around him yet observes faithfully the events of his challenging childhood. Djata experiences violence, cruelty, deceit and corruption – all of the stories acting as an allegory for the brutality of the oppressive regime or by themselves amply demonstrating the utter nastiness of the collectivist, paranoid society of Ceaucescu’s Romania. It is a disturbing picture, though leavened by Djata’s native wit and the utter farce of life under collectivist corruption.