Ada Nicolescu was born in Bucharest, Romania, where she witnessed life through the turbulent 1930s, World War II and Stalin’s Communism. She is a graduate of Carol Davila University of Medicine in Bucharest. In 1961, eight years after finishing medical school, she emigrated to Paris and New York City.
In addition to her medical degree, Dr. Nicolescu earned a MA in art history from New York University’s Institute of Fine Arts. A member of the Medical Society of the State of New York and the American Psychiatric Association, she is a psychiatrist in private practice in New York City. She is married to Dr. Lawrence Le Shan.
Dr. Nicolescu’s latest novel, Four Hundred Bones is the third in a trilogy about the most devastating period in modern Romanian history. The first, Prelude in Black and Green, recounts the experiences of a family in the 1930′s under the growing influence of the Fascists. The sequel, The Black and The Green follows the family through the horrific war years, from 1940 to 1944.
Growing up in Bucharest in the mid 1930s, Ada Nicolescu observed how everyday life in Romania was changing and the persecution many people experienced, first from the Fascists and later from Stalin’s Communism. “Despite many difficulties, I was able to finish medical school,” she says. “I had wanted to become a psychiatrist, but in the years after the war, there were all kinds of epidemics—typhus, typhoid fever, scarlet fever, diphtheria, polio and rabies. Psychiatry was not a priority. You could not go into private practice. Everything was controlled by the state. When you finished medical school, you became an employee of the state.”
As a result, Dr. Nicolescu was assigned to take an active part in the fight against diphtheria, polio and rabies. Nevertheless, the various courses she had pursued in medical school and the hours spent in its labs proved to be invaluable in reconstructing academic life under Stalin for Four Hundred Bones.