Francesco Koslovic--even his name straddles two cultures. And in the spring of 1955, in the village of Materada on the Istrian Peninsula, the two worlds of Francesco Koslovic are coming apart. A novel both lyrical and elegiac, Materada unfolds against the backdrop of the Istrian "exodus"--the departure from their homeland of hundreds of thousands who had once thrived in the peninsula's rich ethnic mixture of Italian and Slav, Croat and Slovene. Complicating--and hastening--Koslovic's own departure is his vain attempt to keep land that he and his brother have worked all their lives.
As Koslovic narrates the events leading up to his family's displacement--and the feud that divides the family itself--he brings a rare immediacy to the questions of ethnic identity that have roiled Central Europe in the twentieth century. A picture of a disappearing way of life, imbued with love for the tastes and tales and songs of his native Istria, Koslovic's story is also a testament to the inextricably intertwined ethnic roots of Balkan history.
Fulvio Tomizza is the author of many books. First published in 1960, Materada is the first novel in Tomizza's Istrian trilogy. Tomizza's works have earned numerous awards, including the Austrian State Prize for European Literature (1979) and the first international prize of the Association of Slovenian Writers, Vilenica (1986).