The other day, I finished this scene in my novel in progress, The Ultimate Patient, and the emotions I felt writing it precluded me from focusing on my usual Monday morning blog. So I decided to post this excerpt as my blog. It is 1992 and Ben, Tina’s second husband, travels from Israel to Bucharest to attend his sister’s funeral and sell his paternal house. Yet his experience is more taxiing than he expected.

He had left Romania over two decades ago and, as he flew on an El Al flight to Bucharest, his emotions were dull, unclear. It was…


Duvan Street, Eupatoria

No shopping, no dinners with friends, no sports on TV, no evenings at the theater or restaurants. No travel. Life with Covid is monotonous. Right?

Wrong. Things can happen when you least expect them and set you aflame in an instant. A week ago, I was minding my own business, quarantining at home with my wife and getting ready for dinner and another four hours of news on TV about how we and the country are going to hell in a basket. And then I received this email. I didn’t recognize the name, but I caught the first several lines…


A case of unconscious bias in this excerpt from my novel, The Runners, published in 1994 in Romania.

Mary parked in front of her apartment building and took the stairs to the second floor. The fresh snow lining the windowsills illuminated the living room. A modern sofa with a floral print, a table of light-colored wood, and a few chairs with chrome legs filled the space. A large bookcase crammed with books, records, and pottery took up a wall. Prints, posters in slender aluminum frames, and piles of art albums covered most vertical and horizontal surfaces. …


Since the pandemic, I spend more time than ever at home. We get our food delivered and shop on-line for everything we need. No more dinners with friends. When we get together, it’s on the deck, 6 feet apart. No bars, no restaurants, no travel, no movie theaters or live shows.

So what do I do? I write every day. This is a constant that takes a lot of my time, five to eight hours depending on the mood and the day. I go on walks and play tennis. I read.

And I watch TV.

I watch a lot of…


I’ve been lucky. I’ve never lived through a war or a pandemic or any other event that would require me to be cooped inside forever and ever. Quarantined without an end in sight.

It was only after my surgery at age four that I had to stay in bed for almost two weeks, without moving much, and to this day, I have the physical and mental scar to remind me of that time.

After an emergency appendectomy, I returned from the hospital with a drain tube in the right side of my lower abdomen.

Colette and her mother, Mrs. Demetriade…


We all called him Betze. Translated from Romanian, his nickname means ‘sticks’ or ‘twigs.’ He wasn’t skinny, so I don’t know why people called him that. In fact, he was a well-built, sturdy man, of medium height and he had a round beard, which was turning a little gray, the way gray appears in blond hair. He had a handsome face and bright, intelligent eyes and he was smart and kind and soft-spoken. I never heard him say a bad thing about anybody. His humor was gentle. …


This excerpt from my novel in The Ultimate Patient describes the conflicting thoughts and feelings experienced by my characters on the verge of immigrating to Israel. It is 1969 in Romania. The main protagonist in this scene, Lydia, is still a teenager. She doesn’t want to leave.

*

Her parents and her grandmother were gathered around their dining table. Lydia headed straight to her room.

“Lydia, come and sit with us,” Tina called.

“I’m changing and going out,” Lydia said through the door. “These are the last days of summer and we want to enjoy them as much as we…


I cannot write this blog in the first person. It has to be ‘we.’ Us: my wife, the children and me. Our house in Columbia, MD. We have lived in it for the last 30 years.

It took us a long time to find it, but when we did, it was love at first sight. And like it is with all love stories, our feelings towards our house have changed, matured, and deepened. The idea of moving doesn’t appeal to us, not even a little. …


I met him one day after we landed in New York City. He came to our hotel with his girlfriend. We were dazed and a little scared, whereas he filled the space around us with a joyous self-assuredness, and a monopolizing voice. He was tall and lanky and had straw-like hair that fell rebelliously over his wide forehead. His girlfriend was as tall as he was and spoke as fast. They were talkers.

My wife had gone to elementary school with him and in fifth grade he and his family had emigrated. They left Romania for Italy, and then on…


How does Covid19 affect me, safely retired in my privileged cocoon? The sharpest, most heartrending pain comes from the physical distance between me and my children and grandchildren who live far away. Travel is off the table. We talk on the phone and see them on our screens, but I miss their hugs. I miss their laughter, the noise and the energy that doesn’t die. A child climbing on my lap. Pushing the baby’s stroller with the dog in tow. I have no idea when this will be normal again.

I start my day lazily and eventually go up to…

Alex Duvan

Under the pen name Tudor Alexander I have written and published five novels and one collection of short stories. Please visit www.tudoralexander.com.

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