Travelling with friends through Romania in 1979, Helena
Drysdale met George Cupar, an Orthodox poet/priest. They
drank wine in Transylvanian forests and, avoiding the
Securitate, camped together beneath the Carpathian moon.
When she returned home, George wrote her letters criticising
the Romanian regime, and asked her to marry him and to
help him escape. Abruptly the letters stopped. After the
revolution in 1989 Helena Drysdale returned to Romania,
a country trapped in a labyrinth of post-Communist paranoia,
in search of George.
'This real-life search for a lost face through
the cruel and frightened maze of Ceausescu's Romania
is a moving, beautifully told, and haunting narrative.'
Patrick Leigh Fermor
Extract from the foreword by Tobias Wolff:
' What kind of book is this, exactly? Hard to say. One
of the intriguing qualities of Looking for George is
its resistance to classification. It falls into no single
category of literature, yet at different times takes
on the method and tone of the personal memoir, the psychological
thriller, the love story, the travel book, the detective
novel, and the cultural portrait, in this case of Romanian
society in the twilight of Ceausescu's rule and the
years just after his overthrow.
In coming to Romania, she also comes to know George.
With exquisite care and patience, like one reconstructing
a canvas slashed to ribbons, Helena Drysdale assembles
a complex and detailed portrait of George, unravels
the history of his treatment at the hands of the Securitate,
and finally plumbs the mystery of his disappearance.
To accomplish all this requires great persistence
and courage - she is, don't forget, a nosey woman
alone in a country still run by secretive thugs. It
would be an act of treason to say how her search ends,
but she does after all descend into Hades to find
George and in so doing complete a story that has haunted
this reader for over a year now, and will no doubt
continue to haunt him in years to come.'
'A brilliant travel book.'
Colm Toibin, Irish Times