Corto Literary / Hermes, 2020, 264 pages
30-pages long excerpt in English
Translation rights sold: Orfelin (Serbia), Seven Stories Press (World English), Sellerio (Italy), Libri (Hungary), Paradox (Bulgaria), Antolog (North Macedonia)
Winner of Meša Selimović Award 2021
In the vein of majestic works such as Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides or Margaret Atwood’s prose, the power of this novel lies in the ability of genuine literature to reshape the suppressed using it as a vehicle of personal and collective change. Ivana Bodrožić’ new novel tells a story of being locked in: socially, domestically and intimately, told through three different perspectives.
A daughter that is paralyzed after a car crash, left without the possibility to speak, confined to a hospital bed and unable to move anything but her eyes vertically. Physically restrained but self-conscious, she is forced to reminiscence. Then a son trapped in the body which he doesn’t feel as his own, in a role assigned to him and different from the one he saw for himself, forced to endure misperception and the vile abuse of the community in order to become what he really is. In the end, a mother that carries the burden of the generations, distorted by the violent patriarchy, growing up oppressed and lectured, taught she is never good enough for the world which holds no place for the desires and choices of women. They intertwine in a story which gives each of them the right to their own truth, pain and drive for survival; children that long for their parents’ validation, sons and daughters that long for acceptance, parents shaped by the fear they will later inflict onto their children. This novel questions our matrilineal family legacies and points to the unbreakable bond between our personal freedoms, human dignity and social circumstances, and does so with empathy, its most powerful weapon, breaking the chains and unlocking lives, concealed family relations and forbidden love stories.