By Daša Drndic
A mesmerising meditation on memory, madness and the lesser known horrors of Nazi Germany.
This is like a fairy tale, all this.
A woman meets a stranger who tells her her identity is a lie. 772 (or 789) children's brains rest silently in jars. A traveller comes to a quotidian city, unknowingly approaching her past.
From the author of Trieste (shortlisted for the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize) comes this bedazzling kaleidoscopic novel, stitching together fact and fiction, history and memory, words and images into a heart-breaking collage that manages to look askance at the blinding horror of history.
Ranging across themes of memory, loss, inheritance and storytelling, Drndic borrows from every tradition of writing to weave together a fragmented narrative of love and disease, in a novel that's very format raises penetrating and unanswerable questions about history, and the processes by which we describe and remember it.
Dasa Drndic was a distinguished Croatian novelist and playwright. She was also been a translator, and a lecturer at the Faculty of Philosophy in Rijeka. Trieste (2012), her first novel to be translated into English, was shortlisted for the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize and has now been translated into many other languages. It was followed by Leica Format (2015) and Belladonna (2017). Belladonna has been shortlisted for both the inaugural EBRD prize and the Oxford-Weidenfeld Translation Prize and received stunning reviews. Dasa Drndic died in June 2018.
- Other details
- Publication date:
04 Jun 2015
- Page count:
Drndic combines several registers, from crisp to saccharine, humorous to coldly official - well captured by Celia Hawkesworth's translation — Tadzio Koelb, Times Literary Supplement