— Chisinau, Moldova: Editura ARC, 2005. Provincia pierdută. Aventuri într-o familie moldovenească. [Romanian translation by Diana Stanciu]
As A Canadian, Henighan feels at home in this nation adrift. Fifty years of Soviet propaganda have dictated that the Moldovan language is a “degenerate local patois, only distantly related to Romanian.” The author’s innocent observation that Moldovan and Romanian are the same language is revolutionary in the tense climate of post-Soviet Moldova, and suddenly Henighan is embroiled in the fierce language-law debates that have thrown the entire country into upheaval.
As a former Quebec resident, Henighan is uniquely qualified to examine Moldova, a country driven by language tensions, where Russian speakers ferried into the country during the Soviet era have fought to dominate the Moldovans, who speak Romanian. He tackles the issue with the kind of insight that has earned him a Governor-General’s nomination this year for another book, When Words Deny the World: The Reshaping of Canadian Writing.
Henighan boards with a Moldovan family and builds close ties with his students and with Dora, the mother of the family with whom he is billeted. Henighan’s moments with the family and glimpses of Moldovan life are overshadowed by his study of the language tensions in the country.
He returns to Moldova in 2001 to find much changed in Chisinau….Lack of faith in language and culture has caused Moldova to become perhaps the poorest country in Europe, where people are emigrating even to troubled Albania in search of jobs.