By Daša Drndic
A timely parable on the perils of growing old and infirm in an unforgiving modern world - by the author of the acclaimed Trieste
An excoriating work of fiction that references the twentieth century's darkest hours.
Andreas Ban is a writer and a psychologist, an intellectual proper, but his world has been falling apart for years. When he retires with a miserable pension and finds out that he is ill, he gains a new perspective on the debris of his life and the lives of his friends. In defying illness and old age, Andreas Ban is cynical and powerful, and in his unravelling of his own past and the lives of others, he uncompromisingly lays bare a gamut of taboos.
Andreas Ban stands for a true hero of our times; a castaway intellectual of a society which subdues every critical thought under the guise of political correctness. Belladonna addresses some of the twentieth century's worst human atrocities in a powerful fusion of fiction and reality, the hallmark of one of Europe's finest contemporary writers.
Translated from the Croatian by Celia Hawkesworth
Dasa Drndic is a distinguished Croatian novelist, playwright and literary critic, author of radio plays and documentaries. She is the author of Trieste (2012) and Leica Format (2015). Trieste was shortlisted for the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize in 2013, and has now been translated into many languages.
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- Publication date:
20 Apr 2017
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A very fine novel, wise and brave. Her fiction is very powerful statement fiction, and yet somehow the quality, the humanity, the playfulness actually counters the polemical intent. This is an extraordinary book. — Eileen Battersby, Irish Times
This book is literature with a capital L and Drndic is a miracle maker conjuring some optimism from despair and charm amid the grisly — M. Bartley Seigal, Words Without Borders
Drndic stares directly into the inky sins of us all and doesn't blink. Belladonna is a thrilling book. Unforgettable in the seamless way the author combines the real world and the fictional until it no longer matters because, in the end, all of it is the truth. — Mark Haber, Quarterly Conversation
This panoramic work by Drndic is less a novel than a life's worth of reminiscences annotated with photographs and copious footnotes, reminiscent of the works of Aleksandar Hemon and W.G. Sebald . . . This work may well be the national novel of Croatia. — Publishers Weekly.
A pensive, provocative novel of history, memory, and our endlessly blood-soaked times by one of the foremost writers to have emerged from the former Yugoslavia . . . An elegant novel of ideas concerning decidedly inelegant topics, empathetic but unforgiving. — Kirkus Reviews
The novel is multi-faceted, sharp, surprising, darkly and grimly hilarious, relevant to our times, and possesses limitless depth. It also bristles with intelligence and defiance in every paragraph, like an exceptionally erudite and alert porcupine. Belladonna deserves major awards consideration — Jeff Vandermeer, The Millions