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Death moves the reader almost to tears, and success to happy delight. Aura eventually escaped Transylvania with her husband to America. Having immigrated here myself, though by a different route, I found the author's depiction of her experience fascinating: the complications, sacrifice, loss; the hopes and dreams; the lack of a credit record; the trials of learning how to order a meal "to go. How much of the Aura who made her own choices will remain, the reader wonders, when the world of America has filled her with its own urgent recommendations?

Aura becomes a teacher in Los Angeles, and more.

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But by the end of the memoir it's the grown-up girl of the first pages who teaches such valuable lessons. The reader is left breathless and uplifted by a tale that's in turn so strange and so very familiar-and so wise. I love this memoir, not just for its depiction of Transylvania, but also for its eye on American life and individual strength, and for its hopefulness.

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Out of the Transylvania Night By Aura Imbarus

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Aura Imbarus; Dumitru Ciocoi-Pop. Walmart Tell us if something is incorrect. Mismatched suits were either too short or too long and required an expert tailor's skill to redesign them into anything presentable. On the black market—another special meaning of the word 'shopping'—I constantly sought out fabrics, accessories, zippers, buckles, thread, buttons, and lining, purchasing these treasures with money I'd earned tutoring during the last four years of high school. I copied designs from catalogs sent by my relatives in Germany and smuggled into the country.

I also created dresses for Mom and for Buni, who rewarded me with money for every 'A' on my report card. As a straight-A student, my little 'pension' allowed for a few nice things—if we could find them. I don't think it's so chilly outside. The ice crunched beneath my boots as I trudged with my parents across the slick walkways. Our house grew smaller behind us, and the bare chestnut trees, childhood friends that harbored my shoes among their green branches in summer, blurred the house further, as if erasing our safe haven. We turned right onto Rusciorului Street and walked past Suru, the corner tavern named after a mountain peak.

Through the familiar streets we plodded, past houses with faded and flaking paint, their dingy bricks chipped. Ghostly slanted chimneys loomed, as if ready to collapse on our heads. Even at am people hung around outside, dressed in their dreary, unwashed clothing, throwing away their meager salaries on alcohol, the only pleasure that could soften the grueling boredom of working long repetitious hours, six days a week, in local factories. The reek of sweat, government vodka, and homemade moonshine made my nostrils sting.

If my fellow citizens looked at me at all, their expressions were sulky. Most averted their eyes. Dad nudged my elbow to hurry me along. As we passed the railroad station, I heard a train approaching, coming from Copsa Mica. Emissions from a nearby factory that produced carbon black for dyes had earned this station the distinction of being one of the most polluted in Europe. The factory's steady belch coated homes, trees, and even animals with soot. A smelter in the area emitted noxious vapors that caused lung disease, impotence, and a life expectancy nine years below Romania's average.

The uneven pavement and potholes made the streets a dangerous place to walk. The houses became increasingly decayed; carbon dust and the sickly green of moss and mold rendered a uniform drabness that extended to the discolored window curtains hanging in tatters inside dirty, cracked windows. Dad said, 'It's going to snow again. Yesterday and all last week, the weather had been mild, the cold sun shining in vibrant blue skies, glaring off the snow on the steep, tiled roofs, melting and freezing into silvery icicles, brightening the sidewalks along the dirty streets.

This city could be a truly enchanting place if its old world charm were restored.

Publisher's Summary

Now, the leaden sky dampened my holiday mood. I shivered. The red jacket would have kept me warmer. I tugged my black knit angora beret—which I thought looked quite flirtatious against my auburn hair—down over my ears and pulled on black leather gloves, gifts from my parents after careful saving. Despite the deprivation in our lives, I considered myself, at age eighteen, quite fashionable.

By Western standards, my clothing might not have been special, but in my city of Sibiu in Transylvania, I stood out—which wasn't exactly a good thing. As if reading my thoughts, my father glanced at my neck and recoiled. Dear God! For the moment the streets around us were not crowded, but there were always the microphones, and the people peering out of their dingy windows. I felt the blood rush into my cheeks as if they'd been pinched. I'd hoped that for once I could just wear my jeweled Byzantine cross set with diamonds, a cross no longer than the end of my thumb.

It was a family heirloom, passed down in secrecy through generations to avoid having it confiscated by the many oppressive governments that had held power over the years. I was so proud to have received it, and I knew better than to show it off, but it was almost Christmas, and what good was having something sitting in a box, never being able to publicly enjoy it? Do you really want to get us all in trouble because of your vanity?

"The Land Beyond The Forest"

My mother jumped in to save me, calling my father by his pet name. There is nobody around us anyway. We must always be in control. Use your mind before you act, Aura! I will.

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I promise. Just then, two neighbor ladies crossed our path, but we didn't exchange a Christmas greeting. We nodded, and they sort of twitched. Through her pursuit of the American dream Aura loses herself and those that she loves but ultimately through her journey rediscovers her roots, her loves and herself. Out of the Transylvania Night is the story of overcoming trials, achieving goals, following your heart, remaining true to yourself and finding real happiness.

Aura Imbarus show us there is more to living the American Dream than owning a nice car. Content: A little language in a couple scenes but otherwise a clean read.

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Rating: 5 Stars to this very memorable book. Like this: Like Loading Clean Wholesome Romance. Follow Me.