More than words
Three Romanians with a passion for the English language have set up a new bookshop in the cultural hub of the city, finds Michael Bird
All the copies of Salman Rushdie’s ‘The Satanic Verses’ were sold as soon as they arrived at Bucharest’s new English language bookshop Anthony Frost.
This could be due to the controversial subject matter part-inspired by the life of Muhammed, which saw the author go into hiding after Iran’s Ayatollah Khomeini put Rushdie under a death sentence. Or perhaps it is the current vogue for understanding more about the Muslim faith and its critics.
But maybe it was because the English language version, on sale at the store, is cheaper than the Romanian translation.
Since opening in December, the bookshop has become popular among students, academics and expats, especially for its fair pricing system – which sees English language books on sale for the same cost as in the west.
Competition comes from Salinger’s in the JW Marriott Hotel, arty teahouse Carturesti and warehouse-style Sala Dalles, both on Blvd Magheru. But bookshop manager Vlad Niculescu is also offering a mail order service, which will be good news to book-lovers who tire of the unpredictability of the Romanian postal service.
Set up by three friends with a fascination for the English language, Nicolae Ion, Dan Nicolaescu and Vlad Niculescu, the shop is located in an arcade opposite the Kretzulescu Church on Calea Victoriei, around the corner from the Orange Concept Store.
One of the store’s unique selling points is helpful staff who know what they are talking about. For browsers, this makes the experience of speaking to shop assistants a pleasure rather than an act of public humiliation.
Fantasy, graphic novels and comics have also proven popular among Bucharest’s citizens and the books are arranged neatly, by author and subject.
But who is Anthony Frost? Niculescu says this is a friend of the owners who helped foster their passion for books in English. “He doesn’t know we’ve named the bookshop after him yet,” he adds. “It may be a surprise.”
Anthony Frost English Bookshop
45 Calea Victoriei
In the arcade opposite Kretzulescu Church
Tel. 021 311 5138