La Belle Roumaine tells the story of Ana, a beautiful and bewitching Romanian woman. Shuttling between the capital cities of Europe, the novel follows Ana as she seduces café owners, philosophers, and wandering emigrants alike, each receiving a different version of her life story. To some, she’s a former nurse, to others, a former spy. To some she’s French and to others, Romanian. As each new layer of fabrication is added, the mystery of Ana and of what she’s running from grow apace.
Dumitru Tsepeneag is one of the most innovative Romanian writers of the second half of the twentieth century. In 1975, while he was in France, his citizenship was revoked by Ceaucescu, and he was forced into exile. In the 1980s, he started to write in French. He returned to his native language after the Ceaucescu regime ended, but continues to write in his adopted language as well.