Published: 28/07/2014
ISBN: 9781783064519
eISBN: 9781783065936
Format: Paperback/eBook



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About the Author



An Englishman abroad for most of his life, from 2003 Nigel Shakespear spent the best part of ten years in Romania, travelling throughout the country, much of that time working with the government on i... read more

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Times New Romanian
Voices and Narrative from Romania
by Nigel Shakespear

‘In Romania anything is possible, everything is impossible, and nothing is ever as it seems.’

Times New Romanian provides a picture of Romania today through the individual first-person narratives of people who chose to go and make a life in this country.

Each chapter a voice, each story in Times New Romanian provides readers with a look into the Romanian world – the way things work, the vitality of the people, the living heritage of rural traditions, ordinary life – sometimes dark, sometimes sublime, always interesting.

In a land full of character and contradiction, there is a strong attraction for those with the spirit to meet the challenges, where the one thing you can be sure of is the unpredictable. Life is not always easy. These stories will tell you why...

If you want to know more about Romanians and their country, the voices in Times New Romanian make for an enjoyable and lively read. Inspired by Studs Terkel and Tony Parker, Nigel used their oral history style and his own experience in Romania to guide him in recording these interviews.

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Times New Romanian was published in Romanian by Editura ALL on 11 November 2016 under the title 'Stabilit in Romania'. It is now on sale in Romania.

Review taken from Amazon.com

Brian J. Cox reviewed Times New Romanian

An exceptionally good book about the real Romania 7 June 2014

For the British media, Romania still seems to be all about orphans, stray dogs and gypsies. I've been three times as a tourist and find it a beautiful and fascinating place, inhabited by friendly people, but of course as a tourist I know little more than the sad press clichés. It's all the more valuable then, to find a book containing the experiences of a wide range of foreigners - British, Dutch, Italians, Americans and others - who have lived and worked in Romania since the fall of Communism, often for many years during which time they have acquired a Romanian family. Nigel Shakespear has done a first-rate job in gathering together these accounts, which are extremely varied - everything from entrepreneurs to town planners and aid workers - and without exception very interesting and instructive. We learn about Romania warts and all - the spaga (bribes) often necessary to get anything done, the unwillingness of Romanians to accept responsibility (a hangover from Communist days), but at the same of peoples' friendliness and something about the place that makes this varied cast of foreigners fall in love with the country and a people that feel themselves culturally a part of the wider Europe and want to catch up after all those wasted Communist years. This is an exceptionally good book, for which Nigel Shakespear must take much of the credit in his choice of contributors: no-one should even contemplate doing business in Romania without reading it, and anyone visiting the country wanting to know more about it should pack a copy along with their guidebook of choice.

http://www.timesnewromanian.com

Times New Romanian

Julien Froment

Nigel Shakespear offers something special to readers of travel literature with his approach to cultural and intellectual travel to contemporary Romania. One result of his interview format is readers have the sense of attending a dinner party with expats from many countries, each of whom shares their experience of working in the country, living with its people and even starting business. A good many of these businesses prove to be travel-related so readers come away with a good idea of the range of attractive options Romania has to offer for accommodations (e.g., hotels, apartments, country inns) and for activities (e.g., hiking, biking, trail rides with guides.) Readers who enjoy vicarious participation in 'living' in an unfamiliar place or culture will also find plenty to interest them in these pages. I am well-described in all of the above categories.

Interviews were done over a one-year period, from November, 2011 to October, 2012, so information is current. It also summarizes what expats from countries like Austria, Germany, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom--even Australia--found over a period of years of living in post-Communist Romania. There are a range of interesting stories: one businessman explains his work in restarting the premium wine industry in the country, historically, famous for the quality of its wines from antiquity to the end of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Other people speak about participating in national revival and in starting programs to aid primary and secondary education or socialization of the marginalized Roma (Gypsy) population. Relations between the various major ethnic groups and religions--Saxon, Hungarian, Romanian; Catholic, Orthodox, Muslim--are outlined. It seems significant that, unlike Yugoslavia or Albania, the Romanian peoples remain dedicated to living as one nation, albeit with cultural differences.

For most Americans, Central Europe is 'unknown territory'. Here is a well-selected; well-edited and readable source of fascinating information.

by James Ellsworth


An interesting book with pen pictures provided by immigrants living in Romania relating their experiences. Whilst it may particularly interest those studying contemporary Romania I found it part timely because of controversy in UK about the arrival of Romanian immigrants here and the prejudiced picture painted by parts of the media about their attitudes and habits etc. From this book you find Romanians are like us, creatures of thir past, history and culture. Not surprisingly there are sharp differences across the Country, from the Roma to Hungarians in Transylvania to those living in cities. You find strong families which you might be welcomed into. There is likely to be an initial reserve or suspicion of strangers (a consequence of Communism, secret police and informers?). Similarly democracy is still far from our western experience. Communist backgrounds remain strong in Government, bureaucracy and frequently associated bribery remains intact. Will it change? As ever the future depends on the young, new leadership and ideas.

The book portrays the present day and hopes for future well and optimistically. My only word of caution is to remember that the pen pictures are provided by some who themselves may have personal agendas which cloud their objectivity. If you have successfully started a new business your attitude maybe different from someone who has had a less fortunate experience.
Overall this is a good book which I have been happy to recommend to others. I hope many will read it in the UK to help with the understanding of where Romanians on our shores are coming from.

by Peter Maxwell


Fascinating insights into a country often dismissed with banal clichés are provided in Times New Romanian. Long a byword for oppression and backwardness, Romania has been witnessing a tussle between an old order with roots in the communist era and modernising forces who believe that a new Romania is capable of taking its place in Europe.
This book examines the struggle to define the Romanian future through the eyes of foreigners who have made their lives there in the past twenty years. Musicologists, educators, hoteliers, capacity builders, a failed businessman, architects, a restaurateur, writers, and home-makers are among those who relate their experiences of an intriguingly multi-layered society. Sharply-etched accounts of Romanian society emerge from these pages that it will be hard to find in academic studies of the country whatever their other merits.

Romanian thought processes, the role of the family, attitudes to political authority gender, religion, nationalism, and the law are discussed, sometimes in contrasting ways. The failings and virtues of Romanians, ways in which some are changing and many are remaining the same, are put under the microscope. Few of the 40 accounts of life among the Romanians are superficial and one re-read several because of the vivid stories they told, especially about the rural world which most Romanians are still closely linked to. This unusual book, edited with care and precision by Nigel Shakespear, deserves to be an essential manual for understanding important aspects of life in one of Europe’s most fascinating countries.

by Tom Gallagher, Professor Emeritus Bradford University 4* Amazon


Not just for those who've been to Romania

Having had a short but very sweet visit to Romania a couple of years ago, I wanted to know more about the country, and found this to be a really excellent book. It is essentially a series of interviews with foreigners who were drawn to Romania for various different reasons, and have now come to call it their home. This myriad of voices creates a colourful patchwork of insights into and experiences in the country that would appear to be far more rounded than something that one travel writer alone could convey. And despite the struggles and stresses that many of the interviewees voice about Romania, I couldn’t help but finish the book with a sense that here is a hidden gem which seems to have a special pull on people who dare to go off the beaten path and visit this relatively unknown corner of Europe.

Even if you haven't been to Romania and hadn't thought about going, I would still recommend this. I found the human story aspect of the interviews to be incredibly engaging, and in some cases inspiring. A highlight for me is the interview with Paul Davies, a Welshman whose life was profoundly changed when he visited Romanian orphanages back in the 80s and now lives there permanently, running his own charity. That each interview is relatively short in length makes for a very readable book too, as I found that with 15 minutes spare here and there in the day, I could pick it and dip into another person's life quite easily.

I'd love to see more books like this. A very interesting and absorbing read.

by Booklover 4* Amazon


The news is often about Romanians leaving their country for a better life in other parts of Europe. Times Romanian is about foreigners who have settled in Romania. It is a tasty smorgasbord of interviews which tells what it is like to emigrate and settle in Romania. There are common themes of battling corruption and bureaucracy. Doctors are so badly paid that they expect to be given substantial tips by their patients.

As you might expect from an Eastern European country, family ties are very strong. However many of the people interviewed highlighted the kindness that Romanians show to foreigners.
The strength of this book is that it contains a broad spectrum of interviewees, from entrepreneurs through to a writer who started out in the proverbial garret in a run-down area of Budapest. Be warned though that the description of the beautiful Carpathian mountains will entice you to visit the country, or who knows settle there yourself.

by A.M.Bodman 5* Amazon


An interesting book with pen pictures provided by immigrants living in Romania relating their experiences. Whilst it may particularly interest those studying contemporary Romania I found it part timely because of controversy in UK about the arrival of Romanian immigrants here and the prejudiced picture painted by parts of the media about their attitudes and habits etc. From this book you find Romanians are like us, creatures of thir past, history and culture. Not surprisingly there are sharp differences across the Country, from the Roma to Hungarians in Transylvania to those living in cities. You find strong families which you might be welcomed into. There is likely to be an initial reserve or suspicion of strangers (a consequence of Communism, secret police and informers?). Similarly democracy is still far from our western experience. Communist backgrounds remain strong in Government, bureaucracy and frequently associated bribery remains intact. Will it change? As ever the future depends on the young, new leadership and ideas.

The book portrays the present day and hopes for future well and optimistically. My only word of caution is to remember that the pen pictures are provided by some who themselves may have personal agendas which cloud their objectivity. If you have successfully started a new business your attitude maybe different from someone who has had a less fortunate experience.

Overall this is a good book which I have been happy to recommend to others. I hope many will read it in the UK to help with the understanding of where Romanians on our shores are coming from.

by Peter Maxwell from Netgalley


Unusual format. Works well. Eastern Europe is a world away yet we are part of the same political entity. I feel it is important to try to get closer in understanding.

by 2014 Julian Froment 4* Amazon and Goodreads


Something Special in Travel Writing

Readers wishing to know more about a 'new' travel destination or about contemporary life in Central Europe will enjoy Nigel Shakespeare's look at Romania after Communism. The book will also be a fascinating account of living in the country as an expatriate and it will appeal those of us 'armchair' expats who enjoy imagining what it might be like to 'pick up and move' to a different culture and a different environment. As with everyone interviewed for this is project, the author/editor has spent significant time living and working in the country and they seem to have a sound basis for offering their information and points of view. The information here was gathered between November, 2011 and October, 2012 so things are well up-to-date.

I was not aware that Romania was such a multi-ethnic country: a major cleavage seems to be between Hungarians and Romanians and there also are Saxons and the Roma (Gypsy) population. Relations between these groups are discussed to a useful degree. Another theme of the interviews is the contemporary redevelopment and economic development of the nation. After Romania joined the EU, a good many projects were funded and they brought many of the persons interviewed to the country. Many of these people have been or are involved in tourism related activities and they suggest the range of activities that draw visitors and the types of accommodations one might expect.

Beyond this, the book is like attending a cosmopolitan dinner party with people who discuss subjects like business development, local culture and daily living, Romanian attitudes to family and gender roles, government and bureaucracy and even the fine arts. I found it to be a welcome change from itinerary-focused travel writing of the experiences of a single traveller.

by James Ellsworth 4* Amazn


Nigel Shakespear offers something special to readers of travel literature with his approach to cultural and intellectual travel to contemporary Romania. One result of his interview format is readers have the sense of attending a dinner party with expats from many countries, each of whom shares their experience of working in the country, living with its people and even starting business. A good many of these businesses prove to be travel-related so readers come away with a good idea of the range of attractive options Romania has to offer for accommodations (e.g., hotels, apartments, country inns) and for activities (e.g., hiking, biking, trail rides with guides.) Readers who enjoy vicarious participation in 'living' in an unfamiliar place or culture will also find plenty to interest them in these pages. I am well-described in all of the above categories.

Interviews were done over a one-year period, from November, 2011 to October, 2012, so information is current. It also summarizes what expats from countries like Austria, Germany, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom--even Australia--found over a period of years of living in post-Communist Romania. There are a range of interesting stories: one businessman explains his work in restarting the premium wine industry in the country, historically, famous for the quality of its wines from antiquity to the end of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Other people speak about participating in national revival and in starting programs to aid primary and secondary education or socialization of the marginalized Roma (Gypsy) population. Relations between the various major ethnic groups and religions--Saxon, Hungarian, Romanian; Catholic, Orthodox, Muslim--are outlined. It seems significant that, unlike Yugoslavia or Albania, the Romanian peoples remain dedicated to living as one nation, albeit with cultural differences.

For most Americans, Central Europe is 'unknown territory'. Here is a well-selected; well-edited and readable source of fascinating information.

by James Ellsworth – via NetGalley


An exceptionally good book about the real Romania

For the British media, Romania still seems to be all about orphans, stray dogs and gypsies. I've been three times as a tourist and find it a beautiful and fascinating place, inhabited by friendly people, but of course as a tourist I know little more than the sad press clichés. It's all the more valuable then, to find a book containing the experiences of a wide range of foreigners - British, Dutch, Italians, Americans and others - who have lived and worked in Romania since the fall of Communism, often for many years during which time they have acquired a Romanian family. Nigel Shakespear has done a first-rate job in gathering together these accounts, which are extremely varied - everything from entrepreneurs to town planners and aid workers - and without exception very interesting and instructive. We learn about Romania warts and all - the spaga (bribes) often necessary to get anything done, the unwillingness of Romanians to accept responsibility (a hangover from Communist days), but at the same of peoples' friendliness and something about the place that makes this varied cast of foreigners fall in love with the country and a people that feel themselves culturally a part of the wider Europe and want to catch up after all those wasted Communist years. This is an exceptionally good book, for which Nigel Shakespear must take much of the credit in his choice of contributors: no-one should even contemplate doing business in Romania without reading it, and anyone visiting the country wanting to know more about it should pack a copy along with their guidebook of choice.

by Brian J. Cox 5* Amazon


Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

As a Romanian, I loved this book and already recommended it to some of my friends.

by Valentina Banut


I'm Romanian, read the book and thourougly enjoyed it. It was quite eye opening for me to read about my own country from expats point of view
..it caused a shift, I've gained perspective over my own identity as Romanian. Thank you Nigel :)

by Alina Davies


 

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