Book Insider: The Baiut Alley Lads by Filip Florian and Mircea Florian
The Baiut Alley Lads is a “family album” kind of book in which both authors, the Florian brothers, place their own pictures and treasure their communist recollections.
Although living under the communist regime of Nicolae Ceausescu was not the funniest life experience a child could have, the reader will smile most of the time because the tales are full of ironical niceties and references to shoddy products (fake branded trainers or Cuban candies) and entertainers, comics (Rahan) or gadgets (Pif) popular in the ’70s or ’80s.
Listed in alphabetical order, the miracles of childhood have a dedicated chapter signed by Filip, the older brother. Among them is the apple pie “which is not just a sweet square, but a symbol”. Kita and her dog sled rides or the Spanish teacher with her sexy legs made it to the top as well.
But there is also a scary miracle: the earthquake in 1977, when Harun al-Rashid, his wife and the eunuchs from the Arabian Nights came all together under the same quilt, shaking the bed and frightening not only Filip-the-reader, but his entire family. Like any well trained hawk (in communism, Romanian pre-school kids were named “the nations’ hawks”), Mircea watched the disaster from above. His father rushed him out of bed and put the little boy on his shoulders, “cleaning with his head all spider webs from the ceiling” in their run out of the apartment building.
Unlike the Grimm Bothers who wrote in a single voice, in this duet Filip writes the even chapters and Mircea the odds. They talk to each other adding personal angles and memories to the previous chronicle.