THE HEALINGS - Reviews
The Healings is a remarkable and original contribution to literature. Rather like Woody Allen facing a firing squad, it is as humorous as a perfect stand-up routine, yet the Kafkaesque performance carries the most serious intent. Like life itself, it is holographic, and can be read for laughs or meaning forward or backward or at any point in the middle. It is a deck of tarot cards, if tarot cards could make you laugh. I believe it will be kept and read as a classic.
Dennis M. Burke
The Healings by Oana is a psychological, emotional and humorous exploration into the frailties, hardships, discoveries and self-realization of a man with no name, who in many ways is an archetype representing all of us, and his cat, Her. What a perfect match they make.
One story at a time we are taken on a search for the secrets that will lead us to Arthur's Excalibur, Jason's Golden Fleece, the Alchemist's marriage of male and female, moon and sun, unconscious and conscious mind. To individuation, self realization, the true self, or maybe even Agatha.
But alas, every journey worth taking has twists and turns, and man's journey is no exception.
When man meets the Great Shaman Heavy Feather, he says, "I don't know who I am or where I'm going. I feel I am drowning. I have become a slave to my body, desperately seeking carnal pleasures. I see myself in every hungry, horny and impulsive animal that's out there."
Shaman Heavy Feather responds, "The feather you picked up earlier seemed heavy is that right? Yet to another being that same feather might seem weightless. If what you are doing now makes you heavier and clumsier, stop doing it, then see how you feel."
These are truths man discovers on his journey, and he shares them with Her, and she always has something to say about them.
One of my favorite stories is the Tower where man is reviewing his childhood. Here, he meets an old friend, Soychip who lives in a Tower with many rooms and stories.
Man/child is invited to pick his own room and "just feel like home." The Tower has endless stories and rooms and man/child wants to see them all, but when he pulls on the doors he discovers they will not open.
When he pushes on a door, he realizes it opens inward, but all he finds are irrelevant encounters from the past. He thinks, "There is no 'We,' it's just 'I' and 'I' do and say whatever I want." This is his Eureka moment when he realizes that he is in control of his life.
Oana has crafted a fine set of stories that tell us about our condition and help us to see our psyche, our true self with greater clarity. I highly recommend The Healings to all readers.
Author, God's Vacation
THE HEALINGS by Oana
Review by B.M.Fontes
Buried deep inside the words of each one of these short stories is a trauma; some are from childhood, others are brought on by environment, but all, are there - somewhere, hidden and waiting to find you.
Oana's nameless character is brilliant. He encompasses all that is right, and left, of men in this Western world. His furry black life partner, Her, is a cat that embodies all that is female, narcissistic, and overbearing in relationships. This is a classic co-dependent pair of emotionally, mentally and possibly physically, abused beings that travel through chapter and scenario unaware of the power behind their actions and the humor in their words.
I made the mistake of reading The Healings late one Friday night, already tucked in bed. I figured that one chapter; one story a night would be a perfectly happy way to end the day. I was so naive. This is not a happy go-lucky, feel good book. This is a hysterical, drown-me-in-irony, kill it with humor, and then keep me up until sunrise, book. At one point I was laughing so loud that a chorus of, "Mom! Go to sleep! Your Loud!" came bellowing down the hall. Which added to the dark humor; it was 2am and both my teens were already home from their 'cat-walks'.
Are you lonely? Do you have an evening free? Do you need something to cheer your mood? Are you looking to dream amazing dreams? Here is your friend, your time well spent, your cheerleader, your catalyst; this book will be worth every moment of read-time and a second read-time. Bravo Oana!
A Lady Has Come to Sit at the Throne of the Masters
Review by Robert Rubenstein, author of Ghost Runners and The White Bridge
It is six o'clock in the morning and I am framing my review of The Healings.I wonder how it was created. Could this apparent whole have been written backwards, or in juxtaposition with a labyrinthine puzzle in an Eastern European maze Could the stories be interchanged?In The Healings, I recognize the searching of lost Americans for truth among the milkman or in garbage heaps or in the inaudible musical chambers of the charlatans and word meisters. I become breathless when I soon discover I am in the hands of such a gifted master. In The Healings, Oana does nothing but reveal in sometimes whimsical, almost flirtatious irony, nothing less than the narrator's vulnerable soul. Her narrator, who sometimes seems too sensitive to be male in the scratch your belly world by the T.V. tube, does not want to reveal himself yet is often called to be in the spotlight of some inner truth. That truth, despite the revelation, must be brought to light, held up for surgical inspection, much like The healing that occurs with knives in the hysterical Balkan wedding. With irony, much more serious in intent than most Americans can comfortably find humorous, Oana is able to awaken in the chambers of the immortals: it is no exaggeration to think about Harry Haller in the Magic Theater in Herman Hesse's Der Steppenwolf, or Mikhail Bulgakov in The Master and Margarita. Ms. Niculae has suffered to write The Healings. What makes her attempt so absolutely astounding is that, past the pain and suffering her narrator must endure to find harmony,transcendence occurs each and every line that has been written. Only humor keeps the narrator alive. Depression can be dissolved in the condensation of the evaporated heights where the grandmasters sit: Hesse's immortals--Mozart, Goethe- we think of the art of Picasso-Oana must transcend her sufferings, never with rancor, but with a reverential call toward acquiescence.Even in the ultimate folly of searching for truth.
It is not Depression that this narrator suffers from. It is far worse, and more reminiscent of Soren Kierkegaard. Forgive my Latin but it is something like..."diapsalmata ad se ipsum," Melancholia brought on by world weariness. This is the disease of mankind. Oana is a modern day existentialist and here introspection are so important to help us understand the way to truth. Introspection has been a lost art. In a world of extra-punitive and bellicose chatter, The Healings is a revolutionary thought pattern that, in the quest itself, one can find the meaning of individual suffering. Rising free from the awareness, not only of the hypocrisies of the so-called healers, but even the validity of the search, ultimately brings the narrator, and his cat, to ultimate transcendence in the awareness of the importance of the quest. Some spirit moved the author to hold up irony as a transparent jewel. This book left me breathless. Her cat can now join the Behemoth of Bulgakov and sit arched in triumph on Cat's Paw ridge in Canyon D'Chelly. I've even had a fantasy of driving with the author and her cat there,and in an anthropomorphic, even bestial menage, we could fall in love until the dust crumbles...or until we crumble to dust..But Oana has already held that Healing up to the light of truth and has found it wanting. Her truths, and her nuanced curtsies from irony to acceptance are like a minuet of erotic parody and one is able to even be seduced by the folly of the dance. Hearts are revealed by this master writer. Truths are tempered with wisdom and forbearance. A unique, highly original work that is yet reminiscent of great masters, The Healings is a must read.
The Path of Self-discovery
Review by Jana` Chantel, author of Into My Mind
The Healings was a very interesting, very humorous read. The journey of the main character and his wife-like cat, Her, take in this book is relatable to everyone out there. The journey to self-discovery, self-worth, happiness and the meaning of life is something I feel everyone tries to take. With each story the main character and his wife-like cat get a little closer to the answers of life. This book will definitely get you thinking on a psychological, analytical, and emotional way. Overall, The Healings was a very good read.
Analytical Self-Examination or Just Plain Story?
Review by Jean Rodenbough, author of Rachel's Children: Surviving the Second World War
After reading all the detailed analyses by previous reviewers, I can't add to those perceptive understandings of Oana Niclulae's The Healings. But I can say that not only does this book permit one many many speculations as to its deeper meaning, it offers the reader a fun ride through the experiences of the narrator and his wise cat. The author is able to speak for the narrator authentically as a 35-yr-old male, and also shows clear feminine thinking as Her, the Cat.
This is a fun, zany read, and in large part because it takes the reader deep into a hidden consciousness. We can all find where we identify best with these two characters -- which I would say are both one and the same person -- the anima and animus that resides in each of us. There is nothing superficial about this book, yet we are entertained page by page, whether we analyze or simply read for story.
I like the variation of chapter lengths, depending on how much there is to say about a particular healing. It makes sense.
It took me a while to get to this book, and now I find it well worth the wait. This needs to have wide readership!
Creativity At It's Best
Review by Monica Brinkman, author of The Turn of the Karmic Wheel
Don't let the title fool you, this book is much more than a story about healing.
I'm always seeking fresh, creative writing and I was not disappointed but pleasantly surpirsed in the unique way Oana, the author, penned The Healings.
At first you are unsure of where the book is going but this in itself urges you to read on. It is a story of seeking truth and purpose only to find it may very well live within your own self.
A man with no name, a cat with more widom than seers...what could be better!
You will laugh as well as ponder your own life as you go on a remarkable journey with our un-named man and his cat.
Finally, you will want to read this book again and again and share it with others.
Great work Oana! Am hoping to find more of your stories available.