Ekaterini - Knežević
The story of Ekaterini is the story of one woman who lives through the twentieth century in a part of the world where a long life could bear witness to four major wars. Just as there is no such thing as a ’normal life’, so we can understand that one individual story can be the story of a country, of an epoch. The heroine of ’Ekaterini’ is born in the Balkans, and her story is one of human survival, and is therefore universal. This is history seen from the woman’s point of view, the story of the ordinary lives of the women who live through the turbulent historical events of their time. With her own brand of humour, Knezevic wants to parody the traditional biography by demystifying the everyday events in one ’ordinary life’ and let the female narrator tell her side of the story.
''Before us we have a poetic novel in which the scent of the Mediterranean mixes with the taste of inevitable transience. ... Between the scent of oranges and lemons, mixed with the sea breeze, the individual biography is played out against the larger picture of war. It seems that the message the author wishes to tell us is that the most important war is the war with oneself; where the will to write one’s own story becomes more important than historical imperatives.'' Eva Zonenberg – Poet and author of Hazard and The Moment of Delight
A single mother raising two daughters, this is a rare gem whereby the female characters aren’t shaped or moulded, nor put into the shadows of their male counterparts, they are the lead here. A truly female novel (and they are rare to find.....)
A worthwhile novel to hunt down...Messenger's Booker (and more)
Ekaterini is a terse, unconventional epic, constructed around an archetypal myth, but rich with detail and observation.
Antonia Young, Central & Eastern European Review, 2014
I love the fact that Susan the publisher of Istros books keeps turning up gems like this one. Yet another book that for me shows the importance of books in translation. They take you to another place... [and] can twist what we know as Greek myth into a greater myth of the Balkans.
Stu Allen, Winstonsdad's Blog
Without fanfare or flamboyance, Knežević depicts the contrast between existing as a foreigner and the true meaning of “home”.
Andjelka Grubisic, Britic
Info on the world premiere at the Frankfurt Book Fair 2009
Istros Books, Conway Hall, 25 Red Lion Square, London, WC1R 4RL
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