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Leonard Oprea is a story teller. In order to stress the fabulous time and place of many of his narratives and to extend their magical meaning, he invented a character, Theophilus Magus (Theophilus the Magician could be perhaps another option translating the name from the Romanian into English), called also the Hermit. The voice of this character will speak out about the bad and good sides of our lives, scrutinize our world and comment on it through ancient parables and events, the most relevant ones coming from the Gospels. The trilogy of Theophilus Magus (The Nine Teachings of Theophilus Magus on Transylvanian Magic, 2000 in Romanian; The Book of Theophilus Magus or 40 Tales about Man, 2001 Romanian and 2003 translated into English;  The Meditations of Theophilus Magus or Simple Christian Thoughts at the Beginning of the Third Millennium, 2002 in Romanian) presents human destiny and its redemption and salvation guises from a Christian perspective. Fairy tales, fables, hagiographic stories, anecdotes, diary notations, paradoxes, sapient meanings and poetry come together in these books having many times the tone of a sermon while the author/main character has the standing of a Christian preacher trying to sermonize his readers. Theophilus Magus Confessions 2004-2006 (2007, in Romanian) is a high pitch variant of this kind of narrative style. The first part of this book called 100 Breathings; Breathing ("Inspired") Thoughts and Meditations consists of breathings (inspirations) made up mainly a few lines of prose ending with three lines of verse in the haiku style.

In Theophilus Magus in

Baton Rouge

: A Haiku Novel (Xlibris, 2007), the magical character communicates only in verse his witticisms and feelings experienced in the cold and strange world of exile. This is how the book begins :
      never ending sky
      a blue note silently plays;
      the eagles lone flight…

 This is how it ends:
                     golden lake at dawn
                     thrilled by the eagles high call -
                    Lord, thanks: I fly alone!

And this is the epilogue:
                               over the mute lake
                               One eagle flies – splinter of
                               haiku diamond

 Actually, this is Leonard Opreas first book written in English. The story teller tries to overcome the language barriers concentrating his discourse and controlling it as much as possible. The resulting poetic prose is the tip of the iceberg. All the rest of the flesh of the stories was stripped out. The tales have to survive only through their concluding verse. There are pages of real magic and poetry in this book. But I prefer the storytelling parts, especially the ones from The Book of Theophilus Magus or 40 Tales about Man .

Mirela Roznoveanu

Please, click on these links to read more about:
The Book of Theophilus Magus or 40 Tales about Man 

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