Little Communist Who Never Smiled : A Novel
Montreal 1976. A fourteen-year-old girl steps out onto the middle of the floor at the Montreal Forum and into history. 20 seconds on the uneven bars is it all it takes for Nadia Comaneci, the slight, unsmiling child from Communist Romania, to etch herself into the collective memory. The electronic scoreboard, as astonished as the spectators at what has just happened, shows 1.00. The judges have awarded an unprecedented perfect ten, the first in Olympic gymnastics.
In The Little Communist Who Never Smiled, Lola Lafon tells the story of Comaneci's journey from growing up in rural Romania to her eventual defection to the United States in 1989. Adored by young girls in the west and appropriated as a political emblem by the Ceausescu regime, Comaneci's life was scrutinised wherever she went. Lafon's novel is a powerful re-imagining of a childhood in the spotlight of history, politics and destiny.