Ion Drutse reflects his deconstruction of modern Moldovan family and all its collateral affairs in ‘Let’s Talk About Weather”. Set in the humbled hamlet of Soviet era, the narrative boasts of this naive conception of expectations within the schemes of familial love.
An old man who once toiled at quarrying fields, finds himself living amidst a set of grown up children famous across the village for their gross under achievements. What irks his already worn out soul is the return of his youngest daughter who was destined to break away from this family failure and make a career for herself in medicine. However, despite being welcomed with funny jokes and warm hugs every time she came back home, this homecoming of the youngest daughter in the house was treated with intentional apathy.
What intrigues me the most is the simplicity Drutse manages to create while dealing with such volatile psychological situations. The calmness that he builds around the father of the house is a characteristic of his belief in the persuasion power of emotional estrangement. Inferences of patriarchy can be traced by the puny description of the aunt and the cautious verbal manufacturing by the mother. The evolution of mother’s character is in consonance with her own realization of problems that are beyond the repair as we desire. However, it would still reinforce the idea of ethics that prevailed in the context of early Soviet societies.
Nothing ceases to take attention away from misplaced protagonists of this plot. One would want to believe that this is the story about a quintessential middle class father in Soviet Moldova, however, the quick and not so swift twists in plot are hard to reckon with. The vivid description of the distinctive loss that each member of the family carry with themselves is probably the only characteristic that reflects their commonality.
It’s hard to trace humor in what literally might appear to be humorous. This is a signature move of Drutse to keep his readers in this self indulging pity by blurring the lines between humor and awkwardness. One would be forced to look into themselves and their social capital while trying to make sense of this peculiar family. Peculiar? Well, if we call it so, it would be reflective of the pretense that we have gone on to normalize by taking ourselves too far from the soil. The dramatics of Drutse’s plot formation is the honest reflection of not so latent realities of many societies. That is precisely the reason that makes this story a must read in post colonial nations. Drutse’s narrative would pierce through our frame of unconsciously acquired identities like the strands of sunlight invading a dark room through a small round opening. It is pathetically original and would push us to feel uncomfortably exposed.
Well, in this galaxy of familial bodies of all shapes and sizes revolving around this inescapable force of destiny, Drutse flirts with the idea of freedom. The prodigious youngest daughter of the family becomes the operative matter of freedom in all its degrees. She is freedom, and freedom is her presence. But is she actually free or just a study for explaining what freedom ought to be? Well, that’s for the readers to decipher, so much so, that even Drutse pulls his hands off the strings on this matter. Personally, the presence of the youngest daughter seems like a journey of freedom itself. In my opinion, she represents what freedom might have been if it wouldn’t have been this. This unsettling account of freedom takes me back to Drutse’s catalyst style of writing where he becomes this invisible force that literally collides his readers with reality with no pretense or warning. And if you feel unsettled, it’s time for you to introspect your own affair with reality.
Despite being a brief read, Let’s Talk About Weather comes as a pill to grasp the familial maladies of the Soviet Moldovan society. It is an intelligent display of loss and sacrifice presented in a manner that knows no intelligence but knowledge. After all, it’s Drutse we’re talking about.
Picture Credits – Worldly Rise
I’m not familiar with Ion Drutse. I will have to check him out.
He’s a Moldovan writer famous for his short stories and screenplay. I came across some of his works in a vintage book that was published in 1976 during the Soviet era