by Ana Schnabl. Translated from the Slovene by David Limon
Enter two good-looking, ambitious characters: Adam is a professor of literature trying his hand at writing again, while Ana is the editor who receives his manuscript, The Masterpiece. Filled with a sense of their own destinies, the protagonists soon cross the lines of their professional relationship and become entangled in an intense, adulterous affair. But Adam moves in dissident circles and Ana owes her position as the youngest editor in the history of the biggest state publishing house to her cooperation with the dark side of the government.
The Masterpiece is a love story with tinges of the political thriller, written in a tantalizing prose style. Set in the golden years of 1980s Yugoslavia, it revels in an era of unprecedented freedom of thought and travel, of dissident movements and literary scenes, while also revealing the tight grip that the state maintained on the lives of its citizens, not least through its security services and its web of informants.
LONGLISTED FOR THE 2023 DUBLIN LITERATURE PRIZE
The novel's emphasis is on the psychological rather than the political, it's chapters packed with dense paragraphs of interiority. . . flashes of insight breakthrough:"Many, including Adam, would rather murder the world than change."
Ronan Hession, The Irish Times
Schnabl belongs to a canon of authors building on the legacy of great women writers and poets of the past and correcting age-old injustices that the system has inflicted upon women.
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