The Deer Wedding


Artist Antun Fiskovic experiences a change in his fortunes following the dramatic revelation of the identity of his parents just as occupying forces take over the government of his country.

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Artist Antun Fiskovic experiences a change in his fortunes following the dramatic revelation of the identity of his parents just as occupying forces take over the government of his country.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Simpson's sweeping second novel is a rumination on art and war that circles the lives of Dagmar, a 23-year-old punk rocker living in Zagreb; her mother, the journalist Ana Petric; and Antun Fiskovi, an artist living 50 years earlier and with whom they share a mysterious connection. Simpson mirrors the histories of her characters with the rage and despair of their war-ravaged country; in 1998 Ana attempts to reconnect with her daughter after being absent for most of her childhood due to the suicide of her husband. Meanwhile, in 1941, Antun struggles with his art and his parents' identity, and tries to find love. A revelation predictably connects Antun to Ana, transforming everyone. Simpson's slim novel is rich in historical detail, though labyrinthine in its complexity; place names, historical events, and Slavic cultural references can be overwhelming (research notes and a pronunciation guide are included). The timing of the two tales is crucial. 1941 marked the creation of independent Croatia; in 1998 Simpson traveled to a newly independent Croatia, just three years after the end of a bloody civil war. Her deft handling and authority creates a satisfying and compelling tale. (June)
Library Journal
The title of Simpson's (The Banquet of Esther Rosenbaum) short novel refers to a painting by one of the main characters, Antun Fiskovic, a pupil of the great Croat sculptor Ivan Meštrović. The eyes of the deer in the painting are those of four people deeply important to the artist. The story alternates between 1998 and 1935–38, and both the recent war in the Balkans and the history of their native Croatia play an integral part in the characters' relationships. In addition to the mysterious Antun, the cast includes Dagmar Petric; her estranged mother; and Tilde Eschenasi, Antun's artistic inspiration. A beachfront production of Shakespeare's The Tempest on the island of Hvar, in which Dagmar plays Miranda, proves an excellent vehicle for the solving of family mysteries, the establishment of personal and political rapprochements, and ending the tale. This short piece could easily have been doubled or tripled in length, with the characters—particularly Antun and his fascinating life—and the political history of Croatia developed in more depth. A glossary of native words would also have been helpful, although a pronunciation guide is provided. VERDICT The rather cursory portrayals of the protagonists leave the reader wanting more, but Simpson writes with elegance and makes phenomenal use of metaphors.—Lisa Rohrbaugh, National Coll. Lib., Youngstown, OH
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780956012500
  • Publisher: Alcemi
  • Publication date: 6/15/2011
  • Pages: 157
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.30 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Table of Contents

Chapter 1 a suitcase and an Eskimo kiss 11

Chapter 2 kissing stone 16

Chapter 3 the wolf and the owls 22

Chapter 4 the Japanese slug 27

Chapter 5 fishing for sharks with the Frenchie 32

Chapter 6 saints and sinners 37

Chapter 7 coffee with the Pink Panther 41

Chapter 8 lost & found 48

Chapter 9 the man in the mask 54

Chapter 10 Saint Prospero 61

Chapter 11 grandfather Fiskovic's saddle 67

Chapter 12 conversations with Our Lady 73

Chapter 13 the moth and the fisherman 78

Chapter 14 Ariel in combats 84

Chapter 15 eating with bears 91

Chapter 16 Goran's birthday story 98

Chapter 17 boat man 103

Chapter 18 sheep shoes 110

Chapter 19 jet coat blues 117

Chapter 20 the heart of the matter 124

Chapter 21 Elenora's letter 131

Chapter 22 lemon house 138

Chapter 23 bard on the beach 145

Chapter 24 sea wedding 150

On research and inspiration 154

Guide to Pronunciation 156

Acknowledgements 157

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