VBZ, November, 2015, 341 pages
Excerpt of the novel available in English
Translation rights sold: Germany (Folio Verlag), Serbia (Booka)
Four years after the great literary success of The Maya Calendar Zoran Ferić returns to the scene with the novel that deals with man-woman’s relationships and its peripeteias. But unlike in the voluminous Calendar, here the author doesn’t write the complete life stories of its characters but rather catches them in the key episodes where those lives start to form or refract. The whole is fractured, but the novel is completed and rounded.
Ferić`s literary home again is the Rab Island (but the authors follows and sees off his characters as well in Makueni Country, Battle Creek, Krakow, Graz, Zagreb, Rijeka…) where we are accompanied by the lives of several local “seagulls” and “small town” girls, from their first adolescent years burst with hormones up to those weary and resigned moments when we slowly start to resume our lives. Luka, Boris, Gavran, Škemba, Lena and Alka are the main protagonists, but their stories are entwined with numerous “foreigners”: Constanze, Gaby, Urlike, Dagmar, Marie…
Love, sex, and myriad humorous and distinctly Ferić`s grotesque situations, but just as well the sorrow and melancholy and eternal wrestle with life that always somehow finds the way to “fuck you up”, and all of it written with the handwriting of one of the most persuasive and most authentic voices in modern Croatian literature.
Alone by the Sea is a prose in which Ferić demonstrates his vast talent in the sense of both idea and form, and develops (without recycling) the main thematic and style peculiarities of his recognizable handwriting. (…) the diagnose is now final – life is a trap! And this book is a great bait that seamlessly, and with enormous reading delight, takes you towards it. And much further
The novel follows the fate of several (anti)heroes and their numerous feats in a characteristic, Ferić’s own bittersweet manner. But, one could argue that more important than them are the excellent female characters, local girls and tourists, for they are the ones dictating the pace, and the ones in the center of it all.
Love, sex, and manifold humorous and grotesque situations so recognizably imagined by Ferić, but just as well sorrow, melancholy and eternal wrestle with life that always somehow finds the way to “fuck you up”, all of it stamped by the handwriting of one of the most persuasive and authentic voices in modern Croatian literature.
Readers will go into this book relaxed, ready for laughs and adventures of heroes-seagulls, promising of easy sex, easy love, unbearable lightness of being. Some will enjoy the atmosphere of carefree 70-80s, in pictures of their youth and memories of summer love, some will cheer on the story of the legendary seagull, which has captured the glory of Croatian men all over Europe. But there’s more to it.
University of Lviv