Gold, Frankincense and Myrrh

Overview

Dispossessed of her vast property on the island of Rab by the Communist authorities of Yugoslavia, 100-year-old Madonna lies on her death bed?finicky, frail, and foul-smelling. Her nurse, Mali, thinks it a miracle that she lives at all. Although their relationship is never made exactly clear, Mali performs his duties with patience and care, as he reflects on their lives, the island, and the country. Set in the borderland between Italy and Croatia, this lyrical novel explores themes of the individual, family,...

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Overview

Dispossessed of her vast property on the island of Rab by the Communist authorities of Yugoslavia, 100-year-old Madonna lies on her death bed—finicky, frail, and foul-smelling. Her nurse, Mali, thinks it a miracle that she lives at all. Although their relationship is never made exactly clear, Mali performs his duties with patience and care, as he reflects on their lives, the island, and the country. Set in the borderland between Italy and Croatia, this lyrical novel explores themes of the individual, family, duty, love, memory, religion, and state and conveys emotionally vivid portraits about the passing of a generation and a way of life. This new translation incorporates the author's significant revisions to the text since its original publication.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
As Christmas approaches, 100-year-old Madonna lies on her death bed. Finicky, frail and foul-smelling, she is cared for by an exasperated man whose identity is never made quite clear--Is he a nephew? A grandson? The book consists of confrontations between Madonna and her coterie, juxtaposed with the narrator's childhood memories and various philosophical digressions on Communism in Yugoslavia (where the book is set), family and religion. In his first book to be published in this country, Novak displays an impressive eye for detail and interjects deft, sardonic touches throughout the book (``External shame lasts as long as a shoe horn'' is one epigram). But the overlay of symbolism grows wearisome. Aristocratic Madonna, whose very name is loaded with symbolic weight, is described as ``a cripple of confiscation, nationalization and collectivization, an historical cripple!'' No wonder she's ill! More than 200 pages are spent hovering at her bedside. After the first few chapters, the reader, like the characters who tend to Madonna, will undoubtedly grow more than a bit impatient waiting for the old woman to meet her maker. Illustrated. (Sept.)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780975444467
  • Publisher: Autumn Hill Books
  • Publication date: 10/1/2007
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 250
  • Sales rank: 996,620
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.00 (h) x 0.59 (d)

Meet the Author

Slobodan Novak is an award-winning novelist and writer for television and radio. He is a leading author of contemporary Croatian literature and the coauthor of the critical work Two-Hundred Years of Writing in Croatia. Celia Hawkesworth is the author of Ivo Andric: Bridge between East and West and Voices in the Shadows: Women and Verbal Art in Serbia and Bosnia. She is the award-winning translator of The Museum of Unconditional Surrender and The Culture of Lies, both written by Dubravka Ugresic.

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