A Handful of Sand


SKU: 978-1-908236-07-4 Category: Tag:

A Handful of Sand
a love story by Marinko Koščec
Translated by Will Firth

A Handful of Sand is a love story and an ode to lost opportunity. Now far from his homeland, the novel’s protagonist looks back on his life, from his childhood, university days and first working experience to more intimate emotional events, making critical observations on human relationships and human existence. Interchanging with the chapters written in the narrator’s voice are those narrated by a woman. As her story progresses, we realise that she is the love of his life: something that she hopes he will realise before it is too late.


“It combines travelogue, personal reflection and anecdote in a style that brings Peter Handke’s work to mind. Relationships, friendships, depression, sex, the nightlife of Zagreb and travels to the West combine in a graceful Bildungsroman set in the wake of the Yugoslav Wars…..a rich canvas.” 

Josip Novakovich, TLS, July 12, 2013

”Marinko Koščec has a dark wit… a couple of times I even laughed out loud during this book. This book shows how precious and fragile love is between two people in modern Croatia, but this story is also a story every one can associate with even outside Croatia’

Stu Allen, Winstonsdad’s Blog

”There are comic moments in this novel.  The mocking description of the publishing industry he works for is an amusing satire, and The Holiday From Hell is full of black humour.  There’s a droll scene where he has to abandon his car to pursue her on the tram and comes back to find it impounded”

Lisa Hill, ANZlitlovers

”…like all that is shadow, it is revealed by light – meaning that there is humour in this book – it is brittle, sharp and it’s nature dark, but it’s there and at times will raise more than a smile to your face.”
The Parrish Lantern

“A novel that I thoroughly enjoyed simply because of the existentialist musings and wonderful depictions of minutiae in our everyday lives. One that’s well worth hunting down…”

Messenger’s Booker (and more)

“There’s a lot of good writing in A Handful of Sand, and there is also some very funny, dark humour in parts.”

Tony Malone, Tony’s Reading List

”By encouraging this sort of reading, by making the reader try to piece together what’s happening, Koščec enacts one of the novel’s central themes: in the face of chaos the desire for stable meaning compels us to become bricoleurs, taking whatever we can scrap from the garbage heap of history to assemble something — anything — that can hold meaning for us: a self-defining narrative, a work of art, a family, a religion, a country.

Tim Ellison – Review, Necessary Fiction

Read an excerpt at Critical Mass

A Handful of Sand by Marinko Koščec: Istros Books, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-908236-07-4