Notes from the Other Side of Night is a diary-memoir written upon Juliana Geran Pilon's return to her native Romania in 1975, which she had left along with her family when she was just fourteen. Poetically weaving together modern insight and realities with childhood perceptions, Pilon tells the haunting stories of her parents, grandparents, neighbors, and friends.
Although the scenery of her native home had remained essentially unchanged since her childhood, Pilon recalls streets that are no more, homes and churches that have been demolished. Yet, the hills and forests, the flowers and mountains, the heat of old Bucharest, remained the same. The scenes and characters described in this book are simply unforgettable.
Despite the many tragedies it describes—anti-semitism, political imprisonment, and judicial execution were ruthless realities under communism—Notes from the Other Side of Night is not a depressing book. Pilon writes with a detached melancholy about events and characters that illustrate Hannah Arendt's terrifying "banality of evil." But she remembers, as well, those few who managed to remain human beings until the end. Ultimately, hope triumphs in this memoir. This edition includes a new foreword, which discusses the initial writing and publication of this and previous editions.