2. The main character Ionut Petrescu, who is also the narrator, is taking part to a queue to buy some chicken parts, before 1989. The queue is a fabulous one, it wraps round the town several times and it lasts for 12 months, while Ionut will meet the people who will become his queue neighbours for the whole year. Six picturesque characters, who talk about life, mathematics, happiness, about how they get light when there is a power cut and about how they chase away the mosquitoes out of their houses.
The colourful characters are the creators of some dialogues and situations full of humour and the laughter-cry cuts in between lines from the beginning till the end of the book. While queuing, people tell about their lives, they celebrate their birthdays, they get married and even die.
In parallel with the life where he is waiting for the chicken parts, the seemingly preserved over the time ‘pioneer’, describes the era when the queue takes place, reminding us about how magical bananas and chewing gum were, about the cold in the houses, the key hanging from our necks, the barbecues at the corner of the block of flats, the gas cylinders and the apartments that the state would give to young people, about darkness and candles, about the aerated water bottles and Pepsi, about waste paper and the poems about The Comrade, the work visits, the militiamen, August 23rd parade, the abortion, the red tie with the flag colours on it, the communist songs or the bench of honour and the field work.
It is not a novel about the nostalgia of those times, it is a ‘remembering’ book which feels the pulse of some fragile realities, almost at the edge with surreal and fabulous – the Queue as a supreme reality, the single reason and opportunity for people to communicate among themselves, and for some of the characters it even represents the sole goal in life, it raises the stake beyond just surprising some pieces of life in the communist period.
The book addresses a large audience, starting with the ones who have lived before the Revolution to those who were born afterwards, from the former children with the keys hanging at their necks to their parents and their grandparents, from the ones who know and want to remember to those who do not know but want to find out.