Love-Novel-by-Ivana-Sajko
2023 Shortlist

Love Novel

Translated from the original Croatian by Mima Simić
artwork-image

ABOUT
THE BOOK

Love in late capitalism: Ivana Sajko takes us into a war between kitchen and bedroom. He, an unemployed Dante scholar, is trying to change the world and write a novel. She, a passable actress, has given up her safe job at the theatre to care for their child. He is delirious, she is on edge. With the rent overdue and violence looming on all sides, the two of them circle one another in a dizzying dance towards the abyss. ‘A brilliant novel: intense and poetic, exhilarating and devastating.’ Priya Basil.

Comments from the Judges

“He thinks of his wife with the smooth ball under her red coat, throwing away the portable TV she thought was responsible for their communication breakdown. At least that’s how she phrased it. After pointing out that him watching the evening news on three different channels in a row had nothing to do with being better informed and everything to do with wanting to escape from what was going on, mostly from her and the ball under her coat, she’d pulled the cord out of the socket, lifted the set up against her stomach and carried it out.” An actor at what seems to be a dead-end, a frustrated scholar and novelist, and their newly-arrived baby sear every page and every paragraph and every sentence of Ivana Sajko’s Love Novel, translated from the Croatian by Mima Simić. Sajko takes no prisoners in her uncompromising and unrelenting story of what goes on between the unnamed couple in a city where the ‘system’ can grind anyone into a state of despair and panic.
This recklessly intense and yet imaginative novel turns the hard-up couple’s mutual antipathy into an epic series of confrontations. It gloriously marries sociopolitical commentary on failed capitalism in a failed state to the inevitability of failed marriage, locating the narrative in an extraordinary violence of mind and body.
Love Novel goes ruthlessly into how love, be it ever so intense at the beginning—before the novel begins—in fact, disintegrates for this couple. Matching form with content, it depicts lives that involve walking constantly on tightropes with a ferocity of prose that allows no breathing space, consummately conveying the claustrophobic existence of the characters as external as well as personal circumstances close in on them.

 

ABOUT
THE AUTHOR Ivana
Sajko

Ivana Sajko, born in Zagreb in 1975, is a writer, theatre director and performer, working in the overlapping fields of literature, performance art and music. She is an author of five highly-praised novels and dozens of political theatre pieces, among which Woman-bomb gained international success. Her many awards include the Chevalier de l’ordre des Arts et Lettres and the HKW Internationaler Literaturpreis. She lives in Berlin.

Ivana Sajko, born in Zagreb in 1975, is a writer, theatre director and performer, working in the overlapping fields of literature, performance art and music. She is an author of five highly-praised novels and dozens of political theatre pieces, among which Woman-bomb gained international success. Her many awards include the Chevalier de l’ordre des Arts et Lettres and the HKW Internationaler Literaturpreis. She lives in Berlin.

ABOUT
THE TRANSLATOR Mima
Simić

Mima Simić is a Croatian writer, an award-winning film critic, translator, and political activist. Her short stories have been included in numerous anthologies, and have been adapted for radio, TV and animated film. Her translations include works of fiction, non-fiction, literary theory, screenplays, and films. She lives and works in Berlin.

 

Mima Simić is a Croatian writer, an award-winning film critic, translator, and political activist. Her short stories have been included in numerous anthologies, and have been adapted for radio, TV and animated film. Her translations include works of fiction, non-fiction, literary theory, screenplays, and films. She lives and works in Berlin.

 

NOMINATING LIBRARY COMMENTS

Love Novel tells the story of a young married couple whose relationship is affected by the struggles of everyday reality. They are fighting for the survival of their love and the meaning of life in conditions of extreme economic insecurity. The lack of communication affects the relationship resulting in slow deterioration, followed by general dissatisfaction. This “love novel” becomes relevant again in today’s situation of new economic crises that we all face.

Rijeka City Library, Croatia

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Date published
01/04/2022
Country
Croatia
Original Language
Croatian
Author
Translator
Mima Simić
Translation
Translated from the original Croatian by Mima Simić

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