Enter two good-looking, ambitious characters: Adam is a professor of literature trying his hand at writing again, while Ana is the editor who receives his manuscript, The Masterpiece. Filled with a sense of their own destinies, the protagonists soon cross the lines of their professional relationship and become entangled in an intense, adulterous affair. But Adam moves in dissident circles and Ana owes her position as the youngest editor in the history of the biggest state publishing house to her cooperation with the dark side of the government. The Masterpiece is a love story with tinges of the political thriller, written in a tantalising prose style. Set in the golden years of 1980s Yugoslavia, it revels in an era of unprecedented freedom of thought and travel, of dissident movements and literary scenes, while also revealing the tight grip that the state maintained on the lives of its citizens, not least through its security services and its web of informants.
NOMINATING LIBRARY COMMENTS
The story’s main characters are the writer and his editor, who, despite being both married, are involved in a romantic relationship. A communist regime nearing its end serves as the setting for this thrilling love story. Ana has been passing the government damaging information about the authors she has come into contact with and Adam is her next target. Even though the novel is set during a certain period in Slovenian history, it only talks about it enough to whet our appetite for more.
What really interests the author and what she excels at showing is the human condition, the motivations and desires of her characters. In rich literary prose, she discusses the cost of personal autonomy and the explosive power of love. She also provides insight into the writing process and sheds light on a vital component of producing art with the aid of her protagonists. – Ljubljana City Library, Slovenia
Ana Schnabl (1985) belongs to a canon of creative and passionate authors, building on the legacy of great women writers and poets of the past and corecting injustices that the system has inflicted upon them. The Masterpiece is her first novel after a collection of short stories Razvezani for which she recived Best Literary Debut Prize at the annual Ljubljana Book fair in 2017. The Masterpiece is as much of a love story as a political drama. It takes place between 1985 – 1986, curious times in Yougoslavia. A time when country already began its disintegration and a time when the state still had a tight grip on the lives of its citizens through its security services and its web of informations. We follow a few months of lives of the protagonists – Adam, a professor of literature who is trying to become a writer again and Ana, an editor at the State Publishing House who receives his manuscript »The Masterpiece«. Soon they cross the line of their professional relationship which is under the watchful eye of the security – intelligence service and are forced to make critical decisions. Whith The Masterpiece, Ana Schnabl proved her stylistic exceptionality, you don’t skip lines with her. – Mariborska Libraries, Slovenia