On Mothers and Madhouses: Tatjana Gromača’s “The Divine Child,” Translated from Croatian by Will Firth
The Divine Child—or Božanska dječica in its 2012 publication by Fraktura—tells the story of a woman diagnosed with bipolar disorder as Croatian politicians violently endorse nationalism in the 1990s. It asks how a community reestablishes what passes for “normal” when every social agreement previously made has crumbled.
Notes from the “Empire of Stupidity”: Dubravka Ugrešić’s “The Age of Skin,” translated from Croatian by Ellen Elias-Bursać
By Ena Selimović On a recent bike ride in East Bay, northern California, I hear a voice from the direction of a foldout chair and turn to see a maskless woman waving a clipboard. She tells her masked audience of two that she is trying to get something added to a local ballot. She repeats, […]
By Serena Todesco As a translator, I often find myself trying to find suitable images to describe what translation exactly entails. When it comes to authors from relatively unknown countries, such as Croatia, translation is indeed a form of irregular and unpredictable treasure hunting. Thanks to the strange combination of my academic interest in European […]
By Ena Selimović In a review in The Guardian, Ranka Primorac argued that the “best of Croatia’s post-independence writing” challenges what she described as a “dualist (sunny beaches vs. nasty politics, ‘backward’ Croatia vs. ‘modern’ EU) mode of thinking.” Alongside the works of Zoran Ferić and Slavko Goldstein, Maša Kolanović’s Sloboština Barbie exemplified for Primorac […]
“Scattered words (and scattered worlds)”: Dubravka Ugrešić’s “American Fictionary,” translated from Croatian by Celia Hawkesworth and Ellen Elias-Bursać
By Ena Selimović “This is an indecent book,” Dubravka Ugrešić’s American Fictionary proclaims in a new co-translation by Celia Hawkesworth and Ellen Elias-Bursać, and then continues: I have always believed (and still do) that a writer with any self-respect should avoid three things: a) autobiography; b) writing about other countries; c) diaries. (7) This proclamation […]