MILJENKO JERGOVIĆ

Photo by: Edvin Kalić

        Miljenko Jergović was born on 28th May 1966 in Sarajevo. He was brought from the Koševo maternity hospital to the building of Mrs Hajm-Peserle, to the fifth-floor apartment Rejc. Three years later, he moved to Sepetarevac into the house of Trklji. He has invested the last twenty-five years of his life, ever since left his hometown, in the creation of a fictional Sarajevo, Mejtaš and Sepetarevac, which can, but do not have to bear any resemblance to the actual toponyms of the same name.

He has authored forty books of short stories, novels, essays and poems, and a book of epistolary prose (with Semezdin Mehmedinović and Svetislav Basara). His novels and books of short stories have been translated into twenty languages and published in over a hundred different editions.

Books (first editions)

Poetry: Opservatorija Varšava (The Warsaw Observatory), Zagreb, 1988; Uči li noćas neko u ovom gradu japanski? (Is Anyone Learning Japanese in This Town Tonight?), Sarajevo, 1990; Himmel Comando, Sarajevo, 1992; Preko zaleđenog mosta (Over a Frozen Bridge), Zagreb, 1996; Hauzmajstor Šulc (Caretaker Schultz), Zagreb 2001; Dunje (Quinces) 1983 (selected and new poems), Zagreb 2005; Izabrane pjesme Nane Mazutha (Selected Poems of Nano Mazuth), Cetinje 2011; Opservatorija Varšava (The Warsaw Observatory), Zaprešić 2018, (altered, anniversary, bibliographic edition on the occasion of the book’s 39th anniversary);

Prose: Sarajevski Marlboro (Sarajevo Marlboro) (stories), Zagreb, 1994; Karivani (stories), Zagreb 1995; Mama Leone (stories), Zagreb 1999; Buick Rivera (novella), Zagreb 2002; Dvori od oraha (The Walnut Mansion) (novel), Zagreb 2003; Inšallah, Madona, Inšallah (Inshallah, Madonna, Inshallah) (stories), Zagreb 2004; Gloria in excelsis (novel), Zagreb 2005; Ruta Tannenbaum (novel), Zagreb 2006; Freelander (novella), Sarajevo 2007; Srda pjeva, u sumrak, na Duhove (Srda Sings, at Dusk, on Halloween) (novel), Zagreb 2007; Volga, Volga (novella), Zagreb 2009; Novel о Korini (Novel about Korina) (a story), Belgrade 2010; Otac (Father) (novel), Belgrade 2010; Pamti li svijet Oscara Schmidta (Does the World Remember Oscar Schmidt) (projects, sketches, drafts), Zagreb 2010, Psi na jezeru (The Dogs on Lake) (novel), Zagreb 2010; mačka čovjek pas (cat man dog) (stories), Belgrade 2012; Rod (Kin) (novel), Zaprešić 2013; Levijeva tkaonica svile (Levi’s Silk Workshop) (short prose), Zaprešić 2014, Sarajevo, plan grada (Sarajevo, the City Plan) (volume one, prose), Zaprešić 2015; Doboši noći (The Night Drums) (novel), Zaprešić 2015; Nezemaljski izraz njegovih ruku (Unearthly Expression of His Hands (essay, prose), Cetinje 2016; Zaprešić 2017; Wilimowski (novel), Zaprešić 2016. (Wilimowski was read from manuscripts and aired in full on Radio Belgrade 3 from 4th to 21st June 2012, by Koviljka Panić); Selidba (Moving House) (prose), Zaprešić 2018;

Selected stories: The Sarajevo Marlboro, Karavini and Other Stories, Zagreb 1999; Rabija i sedam meleka (Rabija and Seven Angels), Sarajevo 2004; Drugi poljubac Gite Danon (The Second Kiss of Gita Danon), Zagreb 2007; Tango bal i druge priče (Tango Ball and Other Stories), Cetinje 2010;

Articles, essays, dramas, columns, feuilletons, interviews: Naci bonton (Nazi Etiquette) (articles, essays), Zagreb 1998; Kažeš Anđeo (Angel, You Say) (drama), Zagreb 2000; Historijska čitanka (The Historical Reader) (essays), Zagreb-Sarajevo 2001; Historijska čitanka 2 (The Historical Reader 2) (essay), Zagreb-Sarajevo 2004; Žrtve sanjaju veliku ratnu pobjedu (Victims Are Dreaming of a Great Victory in War)  (articles, essays), Zagreb 2006; Transatlantic Mail (co-authored with Semezdin Mehmedinović, photos by Milomir Kovačević Strašni), Zagreb 2009; Zagrebačke kronike (The Zagreb Chronicles) (newspaper chronicles, columns, feuilletons), Belgrade 2010; Bosna i Hercegovina, budućnost nezavršenog rata (Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Future of the Unfinished War) (essay, interview; co-authored with Ivan Lovrenović), Zagreb 2010; Muškat, limun i kurkuma (Muscat, Lemon and Curcuma (essays), Zagreb 2011; Tušta i tma (Myriads) (co-authored with Svetislav Basara), Belgrade 2014; Drugi krug (The Second Round) (co-authored with Svetislav Basara), Belgrade 2015; Autobus za Vavilon (The Bus for Babylon) (essays), Belgrade 2017.

 

ABOUT BOOKS

        Although its voluminousness can “intimidate” an unprepared reader, this novel reads quickly and easily; once “hooked”, the reader will hurry towards its end – that is, the beginning – because Jergović writes the way those who know and love books and people equally well write (and the way only those writers can write) (…) Someone in Serbian, Croatian or Bosnian literature in the past ten years might have written something better and more comprehensive about a historical doom and its human repercussions, but frankly, I cannot I remember such a case. (Teofil Pančić, about the novel The Walnut Mansion, Vreme, 2003)

Jergović is a magnificent narrator (Karl-Markus Gauß, Die Zeit)

With his novel The Walnut Mansion Miljenko Jergović joined the league of the best contemporary authors in the world. (Werner Krause, Kleine Zeitung)

It is the most monumental book, for me, a book of millions of pages, because it continued to write inside me; its already forked out branches blossomed inside me. It is a great book about Jergović, about the unheard history of his family, a book about me and my family, about the eternally trembling temporality of any homeland. A book written about them and for them, about the sad, ruined, overwhelming, idiotic, lazy, beautiful countries and people worthy of hatred and love, those who used to be Yugoslavia and the Yugoslavs, or kingdoms and kings, or Europe and Europeans, or something unclear – servants, the restless, the Croats, the Germans, bees, Muslims, the self-determined and those determined by others, fraudsters and dreamers, Wehrmacht officers, followers. (Saša Stanišić on the novel Kin Die Zeit, 2017)

Read this book: at Sarajevo many died and the twenty-first century was born. These spare tales speak of all that may yet befall us if we forget our essential fragility; by showing that while what unites us is undeniable, what we allow to divide us too easily becomes murderous. This classic of anti-war writing is a warning about the immense human cost of following those who would have us hate others. Its US publication could not be more timely.  (Richard Flanagan about the book Sarajevo Marlboro)

Like all great war books Sarajevo Marlboro is not about war – it’s about life. Jergovic is an enormously talented storyteller, so the people under siege come through in all their poignant fullness. And one more thing: this book does not belong to the literature of complaining, much too common these days – Sarajevo Marlboro is a book for the people who appreciate life. (Aleksandar Hemon about the book Sarajevo Marlboro)

Jergović is a writer who digs his fingers in and, together with the roots, he unearths entire passages of forgotten lives. (Paolo Rumiz, u „Il fatto quotidiano“, 2014)

Ruta Tannenbaum is an absolutely marvellous book of brilliant prose writing and extraordinary style. Reading this book seems to me not only recommendable, but necessary as well. (Javier Vayá Albert)

Jergović’s book Unearthly Expression of His Hands is a masterpiece. (Edo Maajka)

 

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