Eliade’s novel continues a theme that I’ve encountered in “Intoarcerea din rai”, which is the theme of love without limits, which can only solve itself through acts of sacrifice and is ultimately an all or nothing game. A young writer that is cynical and full of himself to the point that his attitude is one in which he firmly believes he can decipher any woman or man within seconds or minutes, finds himself in love with a woman (Ileana), but unable to truly commit and live his love earthly, as opposed to what he thinks is the ultimate love, one that can be lived/felt only in an ethereal place (heavens).
This idea stops him and blinds him, as he cannot understand the woman he loves, nor how she feels about their love. He thinks that writer can/must only create art during times in which something is missing from their lives, in a sense that the urgency to create some imaginary world compensates for whichever lacks in one’s live. It is a very selfish point of view, from my opinion. As the action continues he separates himself from his love, to the point that he asks her to only love him, that their love may be sterile, without a child. The obvious happens, and after an abortion of which the main character is unaware of, he finds himself left, abandoned, as the girl could not live in his fantasy of how his perfect love should look like.
To add a mystery to the story, the author introduces another friend to whom the young writer confides his lost love. This elder man confides as well of a love he felt 8-9 years in the past and the story this love, which he thinks represents the love of his life. After finding out that the heroine has a similar name (Lena), the reader is left with a feeling that the book is more about a woman than two men telling their regrets of a one true love that escaped without them noticing it. We find out that after the First World War a teenage girl is separated from her aunt while traveling in a train and a young man helps her to the nearest train stop. This teenage girl is then seen as a young woman that falls in love with the man that helped her, years after. Their love ignites during a trip through Europe, during which they get married and start a life of their own. Due to their age difference their ideas of love are different: she wishes to live their love by themselves, he starts wishing for a baby, and because neither explains to the other their idea of love, they argue and ultimately they divorce, and decide not to see each other again.
The story is about love, and a woman through different times in her life, and with different men. It made me think about the damage an unspoken idea of love might due to a pair of lovers. Just imagine two lovers which are in love, but feel as if their love should be in some way, a way which is incongruent to the how the other feels. It indeed can destroy a relationship if there is no communication, or so I think anyway.
An interesting novel to read.