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Father, Son and Sewing-Machine

Patrick Parrinder, 21 February 1985

Garden, Ashes 
by Danilo Kis, translated by William Hannaher.
Faber, 170 pp., £8.95, January 1985, 9780571134533
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Star Turn 
by Nigel Williams.
Faber, 314 pp., £9.95, January 1985, 0 571 13296 0
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On Glory’s Course 
by James Purdy.
Peter Owen, 378 pp., £9.95, January 1985, 0 7206 0633 0
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... and Star Turn, though unlike in most other respects, share a preoccupation with the Holocaust. Danilo Kis’s novel is a lament for the passing of the Central European petty bourgeoisie. In one scene a Jewish shopkeeper, a man who has been as comfortably entrenched in domestic life as any of Dickens’s small bourgeois, watches his household goods ...


Marina Warner: Baba Yaga, 27 August 2009

Baba Yaga Laid an Egg 
by Dubravka Ugrešić, translated by Ellen Elias Bursác, Celia Hawkesworth and Mark Thompson.
Canongate, 327 pp., £14.99, May 2009, 978 1 84767 066 3
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... he didn’t escape censure). The same stratagems were used by Miroslav Holub in Czechoslovakia and Danilo Kis in Yugoslavia. Ugrešić has been circling this territory for a while. In her new book, the tradition of upside-down, modernist myth-making or ironical fable has freed her tongue. Skittish at times, affectionately comic, and lavish with improbable ...

Greater Croatia

Mark Thompson, 13 May 1993

... ustashe in 1941, he was saved by none other than Mile Budak. Later, Tito took him under his wing. Danilo Kis called him a ‘Communist Voltaire’. Tudjman recently intervened to stop the budget being axed for a Krleza encyclopedia, long planned to coincide with the centenary of his birth in July. The boyish nouveau philosophe Alain Finkielkraut got a ...

The Beloved

Michael Ignatieff, 6 February 1997

Giving Offence: Essays on Censorship 
by J.M. Coetzee.
Chicago, 289 pp., $27.50, March 1996, 0 226 11174 1
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... a writer defies the internal censor, the defiance is deforming. After quoting the Yugoslav writer, Danilo Kis’s remark that ‘it is impossible to win against this censor, for he is like God,’ Coetzee remarks: ‘the final proof that something has, so to speak, gone wrong with writers like ... Kis is the ...


Michael Wood: Chinese Whispers, 8 August 2013

edited by Adam Thirlwell.
Portobello, 380 pp., £20, August 2013, 978 1 84627 537 1
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... story in almost any version. A simpler case of coming home or staying home in translation would be Danilo Kiš’s story of a man spooked by his own shoes as they sit on the floor of his darkened room. All versions end with a live rat arising from one of the shoes, thus justifying and rerouting the story’s weirdness, but doing it in unison. One could invert ...

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