History follows a trail of sputtering desire, often calling upon the delusions of lovers to generate the sparks. If it weren't for us, the world would suffer from a dismal lack of stories. In this brutally candid memoir, writer, translator and journalist Bruce Benderson recounts his unrequited love for an impoverished Romanian whom he meets while on a journalism assignment in Eastern Europe. Rather than retreat, Benderson absorbs everything he can about Romania, its culture and its history and discovers a mirror in it for his own turmoil: the wild affairs of its last king, Carol II. Free of bitterness, nastiness, or any desire to protect himself, he is sustained throughout by little white codeine pills, a poetic self-awareness, a sense of humor, and an unwavering belief in the perfect romance, even as wild dogs chase him down Romanian streets.