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Romanian novelist and prominent anti-communist Paul Goma has died of coronavirus.

Aaron Robertson

March 26, 2020, 3:26pm

Paul Goma, a Romanian author and vocal critic of the Socialist Republic of Romania throughout the 1970s and ’80s, died in Paris earlier this week at 84 as a result of complications caused by coronavirus, according to Goma’s biographer.

He had been admitted to La Pitié Salpêtrière hospital on March 18th and died during the night between March 24th and 25th.

Goma was born in 1935 in Bessarabia, a former Romanian province that is now part of the Republic of Moldova. He found himself at odds with communist authorities for much of his life, beginning as early as his high school years when he clashed with police and praised the anti-communist partisans waging war against the regime.

In the late 1950s, Goma was imprisoned for two years following accusations that he had disturbed the public order. After being exiled by the communist dictator Nicolae Ceausescu in 1977, Goma relocated to France with his family as a stateless person.

The author’s writings were often as incendiary as he himself was said to be in person. Some of his earliest work, including the novels Ostinato (1971) and Gherla, were published in France and elsewhere, but, as historian Michael Shafir once wrote, “in Rumania [sic], however, Goma’s name became taboo. He could not even sign translations.”

Goma’s body will be incinerated, his son said, in keeping with Paris’ public health requirements. His burial urn will eventually go in the Père-Lachaise Cemetery.

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