I was born in 1973 in Subotica, in a country that no longer exists. I’m not nostalgic for it … I studied Serbian Literature in Novi Sad, in the 1990s, in the building of the Faculty of Philosophy, which was built at a time when its dean was MiloradPavić. That is why the building, for the time being, still looks like a labyrinth of knowledge, rather than a habitat of academic bureaucracy… For me, the 1990s were what is called The Attic in literature… The Lautainian descent to the ground floor happened in 1999… It was the end of illusions that I had (perhaps) still had … I wrote literary reviews and essays for Politika, Večernjenovosti and NIN, among others… I was the editor of reviews for the magazine Reč and an editor for a local television … I currently work as the editor of the Maticasrpska Journal, the oldest active literary magazine in Europe …I am a member of the literary group P-70, together with Vladimir Kecmanović, Nikola Malović, DejanStojiljković and Marko Krstić … Like the hero of (Kiš’s) Hourglass (and the Talmud), I think it is better to be on the side of the persecuted than the persecutors … This means, among other things, that I’m not a fan of multimillionaire rock seniors extending their lives with the blood of others… I do not approve of organ trafficking and have no intention of forgetting that. Or anything else.
About the novel Forward
Forward is, primarily, a novel told from the privileged positions of knowledge, well-thought out insights and powerful management of language. The omnipresent attitude of the sovereign narrator carefully builds layers of story that indirectly offer as much as the reader is ready to accept, which makes this book largely oversaturated, to the edge of being hermetic. While the first part is brimming with humour, acute associations, skilfully crafted dialogues, the second part of the novel significantly decelerates, burdened with digressions (even an excess of text), only to, in the last part, as if under a flash light, illuminate new dimensions of the text which could, at that point, be read again, in a new light. The all-permeating irony greatly softens the pretentiousness of the aforementioned topics and methods whose predecessors we can identify in Pinochetean conspiracy theories, Amis’s apocalyptic atmosphere of “London Fields”, professorial literature of Umberto Eco or Houellebecq’s dystopia “The Possibility of an Island”. Well observed absurdities of today, narrative scanning of media-technical-futuristic global skies as a sieve, a humanoid Earth layer punched with holes, a fresh and unusual idea to compositionally and thematically create a novel as a reality-show, and all that wrapped in a linguistically and stylistically perfectly polished pages rarely seen in domestic fiction as such, rounds Forward into a far more challenging story than the domestic reader is offered at the moment.
About the novel We, the Erased
A critic, editor, but also an extremely successful writer for years, Slobodan Vladušić introduced, with his first novel Forward (2009, Vital Award), several important innovations in the domestic literature. This combination of detective story, set in a near future in our neighbouring Romania, and told from a perspective of an intelligent camera filming a reality show, presented a challenge for critics and the reading audience who had a positive response and supported this literary experiment. Vladušić takes things further with his second novel, playing once again with patterns of various genres, from SF to crime story, adding new technologies to the mixture. The novel We, the Erased can well be read as a common, traditional novel, since between the book covers there is the beginning and the end of a story. However, cyber culture lovers will certainly use this opportunity to take bonus additions for the novel which are to appear in the months to come on the official site of the writer.
On the contrary to the classical crime novels where the victim is known and a private detective solves the case using deduction, where all the elements are composed in a tight system that unmistakably leads to the culprit, Vladušić, in the novel We, the Erased, turns the search for the criminal into a search for the victim, rejecting the concept of a great story as a unit founded on objective truth.
On both formal and content level, the novel We, the Erased successfully depicts the overlapping of real and virtual worlds, typical of the contemporary age of scientific-technological progress.
The world of the living, the world of the dead and the virtual space, as the world of the dead created by the living – are constantly intertwined in it. As an extension of the real, the virtual world serves the author as a secret weapon and a possibility to speak not only about their coexistence but about the disintegration of values in them.
The entropy of the post-modern world created the worn out, dysfunctional and dehumanised beings such are the majority of this novel’s heroes. They are neither good nor bad, but deprived of their roots and humanity; their imperative of humanity is disintegrated, just like the world they live in. They are deprived of the identity, so the usual identification of the reader with them is impossible.
Successfully developing the theme of memory in the cyber form of a video game, where it does not exist by nature of things, Slobodan Vladušić shows us that the post-modernist novel has an actually conservative task – to preserve the memory.
Božica Savić Uzelac
Vladušić’s erudition is unrestrained, the aspiration to master the totality is amazing; it is the book, not man, in the core of his humanism, and literature is the only reality he does not doubt.
Staying on the track of his previous novel, but extending its stylistic and thematic framework, Slobodan Vladušić has created a remarkably modern novel with numerous references to popular and high culture. For those who have read Forward, as well as Crnjanski, Megalopolis, will soon realise that the novel We, the Erased is a fruit of a particular poetics and a particular view of the world/life/literature, which reaches its peak in a careful and accurate unriddling of everything that surrounds us. Aiming at revealing the many social anomalies and our lack of the awareness of them, the author puts his heroes into various ethically problematic situations which bring to the surface the unstable character of modern man. These and such situations lead to the conclusion that contemporary man, in his overstated desire to acquire material wealth, is ready to violate some of the basic ethical principles and surrender that which he deemed most sacred until recently. This leads us to yet another important topic of this novel, and that is oblivion.