An urgent new novel about death, war and memory, and a bristling follow-on from Belladonna - shortlisted for both the EBRD Prize and the Oxford-Weidenfeld Translation Prize.
In this extraordinary final work, Da a Drndic's combative, probing voice reaches new heights. In her relentless search for truth she delves into the darkest corners of our lives. And as she chastises, she also atones.
Andreas Ban failed in his suicide attempt. Even as his body falters and his lungs constrict, he taps on the glass of history - an impenetrable case filled with silent figures - and tries to summon those imprisoned within. Mercilessly, fearlessly, he continues to dissect society and his environment, shunning all favours as he goes after the evils and hidden secrets of others. History remembers the names of perpetrators, not of the victims.
Ban travels from Rijeka to Rovinj in nearby Istria, from Belgrade to Toronto to Tirana, from Parisian avenues to Italian palazzi. Ghosts follow him wherever he goes: chess grandmasters who disappeared during WWII; the lost inhabitants of Latvia; war criminals who found work in the C.I.A. and died peacefully in their beds. Ban's family is with him too: those he has lost and those with one foot in the grave. As if left with only a few pieces in a chess game, Andreas Ban plays a stunning last match against Death.
Translated from the Croatian by Celia Hawkesworth
Her fiction is very powerful statement fiction, and yet somehow the quality, the humanity, the playfulness actually counters the polemical intent. - Irish Times
Da a Drndic interweaves fiction, reality, history, and memory to terrific effect . . . Drndic attacks history with a novelist's sensibility and has produced a poignant meditation on love and loss, the insanity of war and the legacy of human cruelty. - Europe Now
Drndic stares directly into the inky sins of us all and doesn't blink - 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. - Publishers Weekly
One of the foremost writers to have emerged from the former Yugoslavia - Kirkus Reviews
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.