This is my first novel: Country Gumption, or Gold on the Ceiling.
I would describe it as a picaresque, debauched story representative of the young lives of many people who didn’t grow up rich.
Protagonist George Palan, a teenager of mediocre academic performance with loose moral fibre but a relatively kind heart, from a troubled family and a poor neighbourhood of post-communist Romania, comes of age exploring Europe. In search of the European way of life and in order to narrowly avoid problems to do with his marginal involvement in a high school drugs operation, George leaves home to try his luck in a new world a year after Romania joins the EU in 2007.
From a small concrete block apartment in a Romanian mountain town full of other concrete blocks around which all the factories closed, leaving behind rampant desperation, hysteria, boredom, alcoholism, organised crime and street violence, George goes to Denmark at 19 with just his wits to live by, and encounters depravity, deceit, some education both of the formal but mostly the informal kind, plenty of injustice and in the end a measure of maturity.
Passing though Spain, Germany, Holland, France and other countries, his misadventures eventually take him to London where he experiences the city from top to bottom, first as a homeless immigrant and later as a high-flying public relations agent, a petty criminal with grand ambitions and eventually just another put-upon but mildly content copywriter in a small and irrelevant real estate publication, but with a life experience and rich appreciation of humanity like no other (in his office at least).
If you want to read it you may download the PDF version here.
Contrary to the speculation peddled by my friends the book is not an autobiography… it’s just a collection of things that may have happened, events I blatantly invented, and stories I heard from people after too many drinks, whose veracity I outright disclaim.
So long it has now been that I cannot even remember which is which.