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Daša Drndić (1946–2018)

Forfatter af Trieste

13 Works 624 Members 15 Reviews 4 Favorited

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Værker af Daša Drndić

Trieste (2007) 265 eksemplarer
Belladonna (1900) 132 eksemplarer
EEG (2016) 97 eksemplarer
Doppelgänger (2002) 67 eksemplarer
Leica format (2003) 29 eksemplarer
Battle Songs (2022) 22 eksemplarer
April u Berlinu (2020) 2 eksemplarer
Kamen s neba 1 eksemplar
Umiranje u Torontu (2018) 1 eksemplar
Drdic Dasa 1 eksemplar

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Zagreb, Croatia, Yugoslavia
Rijeka, Croatia



The book proclaims itself a novel so I will call it that although I am not entirely sure that I would otherwise call it so. It contains 2 stories: "Artur and Isabella" and "Pupi" and the connection between them is almost irrelevant - there is one but the stories work without it and it is not strong enough to carry the novel as such (but then a lot of modern novels seem to be like that). In addition to all that, the English publishers (first Istros Books in UK and then New Dimensions in the States) ended up with different translators for both stories - Curtis for "Artur and Isabella" and Celia Hawkesworth for "Pupi" (or so the copyright credits say). The styles of the two stories are different - and I am not entirely sure how much of that different was an author choice and how much came from the different translators.

The first one (which is the shorter one and the better one) introduces us to two old people in their late 70s, meeting in the last day of 1999 by chance . They end up almost having an affair (or does it count as one?), sharing a few of the chocolates that she collects but they mostly talk. Their pasts cover most of the century and with Isabella having fled Germany ahead of the camps and Artur being obsessed with hats, they have a lot to remember. Except that we do not get all of their story from these conversations - because between the paragraphs of the story, it turns out that they both had been monitored and investigated by the police - for different reasons - and we learn the story they do not want to tell each other from these report. The end of the story is told via 2 newspaper articles and I'd admit I did not see it coming.

The second story, "Pupi" is told in a more traditional style. It is also longer but I think that is to its disadvantage - it gets rambling in places. An aging man decides to make amends for his family's criminal past by returning some articles to a Jewish family. While that is happening, he collects useless facts and makes lists (just as Artur did in the first part thus creating one more connection between the two parts), reminisces about his past and his choices in life and have a never explained fascination with the rhinos in the local zoo. I am sure I missed something in this second story - it got me almost glassy-eyed a few times.

At the end it is a book about history and connections and life itself. We meet people at their lowest time - and get to see them at the end of lives full of regrets (and some joy). It is a depressing book - in more than one way. It was also my introduction to the author. According to some reports online, that was her favorite of her novels. It will probably work better for someone who likes modern literature styles a bit more than I do though.
… (mere)
AnnieMod | Jun 8, 2023 |
The twentieth century, a century of great tidying that ends in cleansing; the twentieth century, a century of cleansing, a century of erasure. Language perhaps remains, but it too is crumbling. A great burden falls on twentieth-century man and he drags himself out from under it, damaged.
Drndić takes a razor-sharp scythe to the lost histories and the continued legacies of Nazism and fascism, and, by suggesting that our failure to comprehend or to speak or to remember only perpetuates the erasure of these histories and is a form of passive complicity, she takes a razor-sharp scythe straight to your entrails, too.

Devastating, brutal, erudite, perfect.
… (mere)
proustitute | 5 andre anmeldelser | Apr 2, 2023 |
Lamentations on the malleability of memory, while life is approaching its inevitable expiration, as the body atrophies. The gusts of history, here taken over by the images of the 20th century, blow over places, people, the past, the murky future.

Mainly: a rumination on existential intersections across the fabric of time. On the side: an anxiety on the unraveling present, while comprehending a warped perception of history, the absence of perceiving history. At the same time: immortalisation of said history, several immortalisation of the dead through their inclusion in the text. Overall: an enduring exercise of resistance against Fascism through remembering, reminding.… (mere)
lethalmauve | 5 andre anmeldelser | Nov 24, 2022 |
This is Drndić's most famous novel, set, as the English title suggests, in the armpit of the Adriatic, where Italy meets Austria-Hungary and the Balkans, and it's essentially the story of a Jewish woman separated from her young child in wartime, against the background of the horrors of the Treblinka extermination camp and of Himmler's mass-kidnapping project, Operation Lebensborn. Again and again we are confronted with the question of how we deal in ordinary life with someone who might be a decent citizen, even a loving parent or spouse, now, but has committed unspeakably evil acts in wartime.

As well as the storyline, there are also very strong parallels with WG Sebald's Austerlitz in things like the documentary style, the 43-page list of names of Italian Jews deported or killed in the Holocaust, the insistence on quoting witnesses, and the muddy black-and-white photos in the text that destabilise our understanding of where the fictional story breaks off from the historical facts. Given the closeness in dates, this is probably not intentional, but rather a matter of two people with similar literary backgrounds coming independently to closely similar ways of solving the same problem. How do you write about the Holocaust in fiction without being disrespectful to the memory of those who experienced it when you are from a generation (just) too young to have experienced it at first hand? And Drndić, of course, obviously had the aftermath of the more recent wars in her own country in mind as well.

Either way, the overlaps are not big enough to spoil either book, and there's a wealth of cultural reference in Drndić that is specific to the complex history of the Trieste and Gorizia region — the many languages that meet there, the shifting place names, the presence of Joyce, Svevo, D'Annunzio and the rest, as well as intrusions into the text from Pound, Eliot, Thomas Bernhard and other offstage commentators.
… (mere)
1 stem
thorold | 4 andre anmeldelser | Sep 7, 2022 |



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Associated Authors

Blanka Stipetić Translator
Simona Škrabec Translator
Brigitte Döbert Translator
Brigitte Döbert Translator
S.D. Curtis Translator
Viktória Radics Translator



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