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About the Book

About the Book

Train to Trieste

Mona Maria Manoliu is born in Bucharest in 1960 into a family struggling with the difficulties of life in Romania, with its constant food shortages and atmosphere of paranoia.

In the summer of 1977, Mona falls madly in love with handsome, elusive Mihai, a boy who lives in the city in the beautiful Carpathian Mountains where Mona spends her summers. She can think of nothing, and no one, else. But life under the dictator Ceausescu is difficult. Hunger and fear infect everyone. And one day Mona sees Mihai wearing the black leather jacket favored by the secret police. Could he be one of them?

Mona’s father, a university professor and political dissident, is involved in an opposition movement; his activities mean that the family is under constant surveillance. As food shortages worsen, as more and more of her loved ones disappear in “accidents,” it becomes clear that Mona herself could be in danger. After she is threatened by a member of the secret police, who suggests to Mona that some fates are worse than death, Mona’s parents decide that she must leave immediately, in secret. Following a last anguished night with Mihai, Mona is smuggled out of the country by an ex-student of her father’s. She escapes through Yugoslavia to Italy, and while in Trieste she learns that the most likely place to accept a political refugee is the United States.

And so Mona moves to Chicago, where she finds a job, attends graduate school, marries and has two children --- without ever forgetting Mihai, who she hasn’t seen since leaving. Decades later, she journeys back to Romania, determined to learn the truth about her one great love, bringing the novel to an intense and unforgettable conclusion.

Train to Trieste is a thrilling, evocative story about a young woman’s passionate first love, her flight from her native country, and her struggle to make a new life alone in America.

Train to Trieste
by Domnica Radulescu

  • Publication Date: August 5, 2008
  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Knopf
  • ISBN-10: 0307268233
  • ISBN-13: 9780307268235