Republic Of Moldova In Images, by Vitalie Coroban, Vlad Gaidas, Constanin Grozdev, and Vaerlie Volontir
It is unclear why four people needed to write this book, although it is quite possible that the four people involved mostly did photography, because this book is largely contained of photographs of the country of Moldova along with a small amount of text in both Moldovan (Romanian) and English. Those readers who come to this book already familiar with romance languages will likely be able to understand a fair amount of the text in Moldovan as I was. While there are a lot of marks around letters to a greater extent than one sees in English or even Spanish, there are a lot of cognates between the romance languages and it is possible to at least get some sense of what the authors are saying before reading it again in English on the next page. This makes for an interesting reading experience that can help one to realize the ability that learning languages has in increasing one’s familiarity with still other languages, and makes remote Molodova a little bit less imposing than it would be otherwise if its language was entirely unfamiliar to the reader.
In reading this book I came to several conclusions. For one, the photographs were very beautiful and both in the rural scenes of the countryside in fields and rivers as well as in the urban scenes that focused on Moldova’s capital of Chisinau. Despite the beauty of Moldova’s architecture–including some gorgeous churches that can be found throughout the country and even less than dire examples of socialist construction in the capital–as well as the beauty of the country’s landscape, including some windmills and farm houses, the people of Moldova have the look of hardscrabble poverty. Some of the shots of Moldovan people remind this reader at least of the pictures of Appalachian poverty during the Great Depression. It is tough to see such a beautiful land simultaneously be home to the struggle of world-weary people against despair and crushing poverty, without the means apparently to do much beyond try to cope on a day-to-day basis. It is easy for me at least to be empathetic to the fate of a small and isolated and land-locked nation like Moldova, and to wish them well even if one does not know exactly what it would take for the life of the people to be as lovely as that of the land that they inhabit.