The Lute and the Scars

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Overview

Written between 1980 and 1986, the six stories that constitute The Lute and the Scars (as well as an untitled piece by the author, included here as "A and B") were transcribed from the manuscripts left by Danilo Ki? following his death in 1989. Like the title story, many of these texts are autobiographical. Others resurrect protagonists belonging to Ki?'s fellow Central European novelists, allowing readers to identify, perhaps, depending on the level of obfuscation, fantasy, and historical accuracy, figures ...

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Overview

Written between 1980 and 1986, the six stories that constitute The Lute and the Scars (as well as an untitled piece by the author, included here as "A and B") were transcribed from the manuscripts left by Danilo Ki? following his death in 1989. Like the title story, many of these texts are autobiographical. Others resurrect protagonists belonging to Ki?'s fellow Central European novelists, allowing readers to identify, perhaps, depending on the level of obfuscation, fantasy, and historical accuracy, figures dreamed up by Ödön von Horváth and Endre Ady ("The Stateless"), by the Yugoslavian Nobel laureate Ivo Andric ("Debt"), and by Piotr Rawicz.

Against a background of oppressive regimes and political exile, readers will find that the never-ending debate between death and writing continues unabated in these stories--death as allegory or as a voluntary symbolic act, and writing as the one impregnable defense, writing as the only possible means of survival.

Dalkey Archive Press

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Conversely, this vigorously inventive story collection, transcribed from manuscripts after Kis’s death, clearly shows that promise fulfilled. In “The Stateless One,” a man spends his last years living in hotels and writing in cafes and finds that “language is a person’s only real home.” “Jurij Golec” traces the title character’s reaction to the death of his wife, from whom he had lived apart for 20 years—though an “elemental” bond remained. “The Poet” concerns the fate of Steva Licina, a pensioner who wrote and posted verse critical of the ruling party. In “The Debt” a dying man remembers people who have been important to him and what he owes them, assembling a list that is movingly long and varied. “A and B” contrasts a “magical place” with the extremely small and modest dwelling—“the worst rathole...?”—where the author lived from 1942 to 1945. In the standout title story, the narrator describes in loving detail his student lodgings, years during which he lived with an older couple. The wife was stern and sickly while the husband, though deaf, is resolutely cheerful, teaching the narrator lessons that prove invaluable. These are stories to savor and ponder in equal measures. (Aug.)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781564787354
  • Publisher: Dalkey Archive Press
  • Publication date: 8/21/2012
  • Pages: 176
  • Product dimensions: 5.60 (w) x 8.00 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Danilo Kis was one of Serbia's most influential writers and the author of several novels and short-story collections, including A Tomb for Boris Davidovich, The Encyclopedia of the Dead, and Hourglass. In 1980 Kis was awarded the Grand Aigle d'Or from the city of Nice. He died in 1989 at the age of 54.

John K. Cox is professor of history and department head at North Dakota State University. His translations include fiction by Ismail Kadare, Ivan Ivanji, Ivo Andrić, and Meša Selimović. His own books include The History of Serbia and Slovenia: Evolving Loyalties, as well as the forthcoming Understanding Ismail Kadare.

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