It is six o'clock in the morning and I am framing my review of The Healings.I wonder how it was created. Could this apparent whole have been written backwards, or in juxtaposition with a labyrinthine puzzle in an Eastern European maze Could the stories be interchanged?
In The Healings, I recognize the searching of lost Americans for truth among the milkman or in garbage heaps or in the inaudible musical chambers of the charlatans and word meisters. I become breathless when I soon discover I am in the hands of such a gifted master. In The Healings, Oana does nothing but reveal in sometimes whimsical, almost flirtatious irony, nothing less than the narrator's vulnerable soul. Her narrator, who sometimes seems too sensitive to be male in the scratch your belly world by the T.V. tube, does not want to reveal himself yet is often called to be in the spotlight of some inner truth. That truth, despite the revelation, must be brought to light, held up for surgical inspection, much like The healing that occurs with knives in the hysterical Balkan wedding. With irony, much more serious in intent than most Americans can comfortably find humorous, Oana is able to awaken in the chambers of the immortals: it is no exaggeration to think about Harry Haller in the Magic Theater in Herman Hesse's Der Steppenwolf, or Mikhail Bulgakov in The Master and Margarita. Ms. Niculae has suffered to write The Healings. What makes her attempt so absolutely astounding is that, past the pain and suffering her narrator must endure to find harmony,transcendence occurs each and every line that has been written. Only humor keeps the narrator alive. Depression can be dissolved in the condensation of the evaporated heights where the grandmasters sit: Hesse's immortals--Mozart, Goethe- we think of the art of Picasso-Oana must transcend her sufferings, never with rancor, but with a reverential call toward acquiescence.Even in the ultimate folly of searching for truth.
It is not Depression that this narrator suffers from. It is far worse, and more reminiscent of Soren Kierkegaard. Forgive my Latin but it is something like..."diapsalmata ad se ipsum," Melancholia brought on by world weariness. This is the disease of mankind. Oana is a modern day existentialist and here introspection are so important to help us understand the way to truth. Introspection has been a lost art. In a world of extra-punitive and bellicose chatter, The Healings is a revolutionary thought pattern that, in the quest itself, one can find the meaning of individual suffering. Rising free from the awareness, not only of the hypocrisies of the so-called healers, but even the validity of the search, ultimately brings the narrator, and his cat, to ultimate transcendence in the awareness of the importance of the quest. Some spirit moved the author to hold up irony as a transparent jewel. This book left me breathless. Her cat can now join the Behemoth of Bulgakov and sit arched in triumph on Cat's Paw ridge in Canyon D'Chelly. I've even had a fantasy of driving with the author and her cat there,and in an anthropomorphic, even bestial menage, we could fall in love until the dust crumbles...or until we crumble to dust..But Oana has already held that Healing up to the light of truth and has found it wanting. Her truths, and her nuanced curtsies from irony to acceptance are like a minuet of erotic parody and one is able to even be seduced by the folly of the dance. Hearts are revealed by this master writer. Truths are tempered with wisdom and forbearance. A unique, highly original work that is yet reminiscent of great masters, The Healings is a must read.