The Piramid by Cristian Englert
The launching tournament, in December 2018, of Nemira publishing house brought to Cristian Cluj the new book of Cristian Englert, Pyramid.
The pyramid offers us an open door to the indigenous writing world. Good, especially bad. With quarrels, dislikes, relationships and backstage games.
The focus of the book is the understanding between two writers, one successful, anointed with all the life and a beginner. The understanding between them is that each of them write a novel and then publishes it with the other’s name.
Cristian Englert is the second book in Romanian, after Candidate for Crime, published in 2001 at Pandora Publishing House. As an engineer, he currently works at the European Space Agency and writes books despite this formation, because the Pyramid is a satire of society, but also a love story and a police novel. He has also published short prose and short stories in English and declares himself a fan of Asimov.
Cristian, how did the book start?
Slow. About 7-8 years ago I had a concept that came to my mind completely at random, during the day – riding a bike (did I tell you that I was in the Netherlands?). The concept was about two writers who decide to publish their books crossover. I started to write; I wrote the first 30 pages a lot, then I went into a dump and … I left everything out. I basically forgot about this concept. Probably my mind was working in the background. I came back about 3 years ago – with a solution to the problem that had prevented me from continuing in the past – I started writing again and I didn’t stop.
Would you agree to do this dew, like your character from the book?
It depends on the motivation. In my case, the challenge itself, the typhoon gave to others, would probably be motivating enough. In the case of my hero, she is a more serious one. He is absolutely disappointed with the feedback he receives (or not received) from publishers and feels he has nothing to lose.
How does the creative process go? Do you have any stockings?
For me, the challenge is two-fold. Once there are service constraints – I work in a technical profession – when I start writing (especially when I need continuity) I have to dive into a non-technical atmosphere. The second challenge is that I work in English, I read mostly in English, and when I want to write in Romanian, I have to reset myself: I start to read Romanian books, I somehow “extract” from everyday life, I manage to get here, in writing provision. Then the effervescence begins and that means I come up with ideas at any time of the day and night. I have a notebook that I keep near the bed, in which I write even in the dark (I write so ugly that the difference is not felt). I have it with me now, in this tournament (n.red December 2018).
How do you balance the technical part with the literary part?
Of course, I also looked for synergies. As a child, I write SF. If I were to write SF, what I do at work would help me. Otherwise, I write in spite of my field of work.
About Probability: Any book you write is, to a certain extent, an autobiographical book. Writing about yourself is the recipe for maximum sincerity.
Who is Cezara?
I knew I needed her as a character. When I described it in chapter two, I felt the need to get to know her better and then I spent two whole days searching the Internet for photos that resembled the description I had made and which would make me realize it, to give it to me. transforms from a simple fiction into something more tangible, more real. From the moment I had the picture I found it much easier to act (just as a puppet would act as a puppet).
Of course, for a man it is easier to describe the inner world of a man. There are things we know about women and things we only guess. And we can guess wrong.
What does Cristian Englert read?
We buy desperate books, me and my wife. We have about 5 peaks that increase, decrease. In rather random order: I read a lot of SF. By the way, I was reading James Corey before coming to Romania. Today I went through an antique shop and took an Italo Calvino that I had not read. Recently, I read Thomas Mann’s Doctor Faustus. It is a book that I love deeply.
When I see a book I like, I often order it from the Internet. Living abroad, Romanian book fairs, Gaudeamus for example, are forbidden to me. I spend time in bookstores on any meridian I would find, but most online.
What writing plans do you have for the future? A continuation of the Pyramid? Maybe an elaboration of Damian’s novel?
I have a lot of plans! I do not think (at this moment) that I will continue in any way “Pyramid”, although I have just used (as a leaf!) Alexandru Damian as a character in a story. I have a series of stories written in Romanian, to which I want to add the translation of a selection of my stories written in English, and from which a volume – maybe two – of stories can result. And no, it is not at all easy to translate your own stories, because, in addition to the structural differences between an Anglo-axon and a Latin language, each language has a set of common expressions and places that seem more suited to a description; for this reason, translation becomes a permanent battle between the desire to keep, to be faithful to the original, and the instinct to improve.
Once this job is done, I would again build a novel – I don’t know the subject yet, but I already have a long list of things I want to say in it. And stories I write constantly, as my ideas assault me.
I can, therefore, promise to hear from you soon.
– This is a novel I don’t remember. But now me
I feel like the Miserables. Crime and punishment.
– You want to get off so easily. I’m afraid the high hopes
they will deceive you.
– Wait a minute, you could give me Nana in the ass.
– Or, better, to offer you an age of solitude? What do you think
that it would hurt you more?
– Ah, the idiot of me!
– Or I could choose another punishment.
– Hey, Quo Vadis?
– Put some clothes on me. All the blades up!
– No! Of ceeee? Just because I lack Art
– No, but you think you are the most beloved of the earth!
– I promise not to. War and peace?
– I don’t know, I’m still not convinced. Maybe we should do it,
however, a break … at least A Thousand and One Nights.
– Please, look, if you change your mind, maybe I’ll introduce you too
The great Gatsby.
– Ohoho, what’s this, Metamorphosis?
– One of my hidden talents. So, come here.
Do you want to do my sentimental education?
– I’m afraid it’s too late for you. But, if you come
here I will show you the Heart of Darkness.
– Ooo, Fahrenheit 451!
Pyramid – Cristian Englert
Concerned to retell the history of the Flying Dutchman, CRISTIAN ENGLERT tirelessly roamed countries and continents, and his dreams are now orbiting in outer space. As an aircraft engineer, with specialization in software and robotics, he is currently working at the European Space Agency in Noordwijk, The Netherlands.
All his life he tried to find a balance between scientific and literary concerns. The first Romanian and Romanian stories began to be written around the age of eleven, but it only made its public debut in the high school years. He continued to publish in newspapers and magazines, and in the mid-1990s founded the first fully virtual Romanian newspaper, the Voice of the National Patriot. In 2001, he published his first novel, called Candidate for Crime, at Pandora Publishing House.
Moving to other meridians, he felt compelled to try his hand at English. The result – a number of stories published in newspapers and magazines, plus a youth novel called the Gamma Group. Even though English is a comfortable tool, precision, nerve and inspiration, it is still in the vocabulary of the Romanian language. Proof: his last novel, Pyramid.