French author Emmanuel Ruben, attending on Friday in Bucharest an event organized by the French Institute of Romania, said that he intends to write a book about the Balkan section of the Danube because he believes that this part of the European river has been “neglected” in other literary works.
Ruben, who embarked on a journey by bike along the Danube on the Odessa – Novi Sad route, said the idea of the book came to him after he read ‘Danubio’ by Italian Claudio Magris and found that most of the chapters were dedicated to the Austrian part of the river.
Three quarters of Magris’s book are dedicated to the Austrian part of the Danube, the Balkan section is just minor, or if you want neglected, maybe also because of the time of the journey, that is, in the ’80s, when Europe was divided into the Communist and the Western bloc, so I said to myself I should rebalance somehow. I thought it would be appropriate to write a book about a journey starting from km 0, that is from where the Danube empties into the sea (unlike most rivers, the Danube is measured from the mouth to the source), Ruben told the audience. So I told myself I should write a book focusing on the Balkan part. When one thinks of the Danube, the first thing that comes to mind is the German, the Austrian stretch and it seems to me that the Balkan side was rather neglected, he explained on the occasion of the presentation ‘Le Danube ŕ vélo – From Odessa to Novi Sad by bike’.
In the same context, the French author explained that he wants to also present in his book the post ’80s geopolitical situation in the countries crossed by the Danube.
Claudio Magris describes a journey made in the early ’80s, when he passed through Germany, Austria – which remained the same – Czechoslovakia, which today no longer exists, the Danube currently crosses only the Slovak part, Hungary, which again did not change, Yugoslavia – which is now defunct, Romania and Bulgaria, which have remained the same and a part of what once was the Soviet Union – that is nonexistent today. I set myself to talk in the book about all those countries that have experienced tugs-of-war, trouble, Yugoslavia experienced war, and danger still persists in this region between Croatia and Serbia, which is also crossed by the Danube. (…) I want to describe in the book all the turmoil that followed the ’80s, said Emmanuel Ruben.
An award recipient of the “Hors les murs Stendhal” program initiated by the French Institute in Paris, Emmanuel Ruben is about to reach the 2nd stage of his journey and will soon publish a book on this subject.