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Daša Drndic
Translator Ellen Elias-Bursac

Trieste - book cover
  • Hardback
  • 2nd February 2012
  • £20.00
  • ISBN: 9780857050229

  • Ebook

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'It contains no consolation, no happy resolutions, no hope. It makes you groan with despair, and you feel yourself going mad as you read it. I seldom read any book that made me more achingly unhappy. It is a masterpiece' A.N. Wilson, Financial Times.

'Trieste is more than just a novel, it's a document that should be compulsory reading in secondary schools ... Books like this are necessary whilst there's still a glimmer of hope that eloquently reminding us of the past may prevent its repetition' Bookbag.

'Most impressive of all is the sheer force of the narrative and the language in which it is relayed' Independent.

'Trieste is a massive undertaking, both for the author and the reader. It swings from stomach-churning but compelling testimonials from former concentration camp workers to fluid fictional prose' Irish Independent on Sunday.

'At its best, Trieste achieves a factographical poetry, superbly rendered by Ellen Elias-Bursać, implying that no one in Axis-occupied Europe stood more than two degrees from atrocity' TLS.

Haya Tedeschi sits alone in Gorizia, north-eastern Italy, surrounded by a basket of photographs and newspaper clippings. Now an old woman, she waits to be reunited after sixty-two years with her son, fathered by an S.S. officer and stolen from her by the German authorities during the War as part of Himmler's clandestine 'Lebensborn' project, which strove for a 'racially pure' Germany.

Haya's reflection on her Catholicized Jewish family's experiences deals unsparingly with the massacre of Italian Jews in the concentration camps of Trieste. Her obsessive search for her son leads her to photographs, maps and fragments of verse, to testimonies from the Nuremberg trials and interviews with second-generation Jews, as well as witness accounts of atrocities that took place on her doorstep. A broad collage of material is assembled, and the lesser-known horror of Nazi occupation in northern Italy is gradually unveiled.

Written in immensely powerful language, and employing a range of astonishing conceptual devices, Trieste is a novel like no other. Dasa Drndic has produced a shattering contribution to the literature of our twentieth-century history.

Dasa Drndic is a distinguished Croatian novelist and playwright. She also translates and teaches at the Faculty of Philosophy in Rijeka.

Ellen Elias-Bursac is the leading translator of Serbo-Croat into English. Her translation of David Albahari's novel Gotz and Meyer was awarded the National Translation Award by the American Literary Translators Association in 2006.

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