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Original Essays | September 15, 2014

Lois Leveen: IMG Forsooth Me Not: Shakespeare, Juliet, Her Nurse, and a Novel



There's this writer, William Shakespeare. Perhaps you've heard of him. He wrote this play, Romeo and Juliet. Maybe you've heard of it as well. It's... Continue »
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This title in other editions

The Ministry of Pain

by

The Ministry of Pain Cover

ISBN13: 9780060825850
ISBN10: 0060825855
Condition:
All Product Details

 

Review-A-Day

"It may seem as if The Ministry of Pain is yet another book taking advantage of the notoriety of the former Yugoslavia and its recent, bloodthirsty war, but that is not the case here. At least not entirely." Tomislav Kuzmanović, The Iowa Review (read the entire review from The Iowa Review)

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Having fled the violent breakup of Yugoslavia, Tanja Lucic is now a professor of literature at the University of Amsterdam, where she teaches a class filled with other young Yugoslav exiles, most of whom earn meager wages assembling leather and rubber S&M clothing at a sweatshop they call the "Ministry." Abandoning literature, Tanja encourages her students to indulge their "Yugonostalgia" in essays about their personal experiences during their homeland's cultural and physical disintegration. But Tanja's act of academic rebellion incites the rage of one renegade member of her class — and pulls her dangerously close to another — which, in turn, exacerbates the tensions of a life in exile that has now begun to spiral seriously out of control.

Review:

“[The Ministry of Pain] is a disturbing read that should have you in its thrall.” The Times (London)

Review:

“Ugresic's cunning, subtle technique is at its most powerful here.” The Independent (London)

Review:

“This edgy, extraordinary novel...offers universal insights into what it is like to lose home, nationality and language.” The Sunday Times (London)

Review:

“[A] powerful novel of ideas.” Time Out New York

Review:

The Ministry of Pain is a masterly novel.” Harper's Magazine

Review:

“Soulful, often searing....This is a work that comes from the gut, one that deserves to be read.” New York Times Book Review

Review:

“Splendidly ambitious....She is a writer to follow. A writer to be cherished.” Susan Sontag

Review:

“Ugresic must be numbered among what Jacques Maritain called the dreamers of the true; she draws us into the dream.” New York Times

Review:

“Like Nabokov, Ugresic affirms our ability to remember as a source for saving our moral and compassionate identity.” Washington Post

Review:

“This sorrowful tale packs a powerful punch.” Booklist

Review:

The Ministry of Pain is a shiningly weird and powerful novel...[it] approaches perfection.” Washington Post

Synopsis:

The Ministry of Pain tells the story of Tanja Lucic', an exile from Yugoslavia and a lecturer in Serbo-Croatian literature at the University of Amsterdam. Her class is filled with other Yugoslav exiles, not much younger than she, who have found temporary refuge in the Department of Slavonic Languages. Rather than teach literature, Tanja prods the students to reconstruct their pasts by writing essays that indulge their "Yugonostalgia" and their memories of Yugoslavia's culture and disintegration in war. Meanwhile, Tanja and her student Igor form a dangerously close relationship that threatens to unleash all the tensions of life in exile. With her sharp and melancholy observations, Dubravka Ugresic illuminates with savage compassion our shared human homelessness.

About the Author

An acclaimed novelist and essayist, Dubravka Ugresic is a native of the former Yugoslavia who left her homeland in 1993 for political reasons. She now lives in Amsterdam.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 1 comment:

Shoshana, September 14, 2008 (view all comments by Shoshana)
The protagonist, Tanja, a literature professor, has fled the breakup of Yugoslavia, as have the students she now teaches in Amsterdam. Since the students all actually know the language (and are taking the class for a variety of other reasons), she uses her time with them to engage in "Yugonostalgia," an invocation or alchemical recreation of their memories of their former country. However, as is also the case for their fragmented nation(s), she and the students understand their relationship, purposes, and ties to their origins differently. The Ministry of Pain works well as a novel of longing for a romanticized past, of exile and dislocation, and of existential loneliness. It is occasionally derailed by abstract socio-political passages that read more like mini-manifestos than anything else, though one could argue that they are exactly how Tanja would think under these circumstances. Quite aside from its cultural content, this is a fun read for academics for reasons similar to those found in Smiley's Moo.
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Product Details

ISBN:
9780060825850
Author:
Ugresic, Dubravka
Publisher:
Harper Perennial
Translator:
Heim, Michael Henry
Subject:
General
Subject:
General Fiction
Subject:
Literature-A to Z
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade PB
Publication Date:
20070227
Binding:
Paperback
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
272
Dimensions:
11 x 8.5 in 12.80 oz

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Related Subjects

Featured Titles » General
Featured Titles » Literature
Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z

The Ministry of Pain Sale Trade Paper
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$7.98 In Stock
Product details 272 pages Harper Perennial - English 9780060825850 Reviews:
"Review A Day" by , "It may seem as if The Ministry of Pain is yet another book taking advantage of the notoriety of the former Yugoslavia and its recent, bloodthirsty war, but that is not the case here. At least not entirely." (read the entire review from The Iowa Review)
"Review" by , “[The Ministry of Pain] is a disturbing read that should have you in its thrall.”
"Review" by , “Ugresic's cunning, subtle technique is at its most powerful here.”
"Review" by , “This edgy, extraordinary novel...offers universal insights into what it is like to lose home, nationality and language.”
"Review" by , “[A] powerful novel of ideas.”
"Review" by , The Ministry of Pain is a masterly novel.”
"Review" by , “Soulful, often searing....This is a work that comes from the gut, one that deserves to be read.”
"Review" by , “Splendidly ambitious....She is a writer to follow. A writer to be cherished.”
"Review" by , “Ugresic must be numbered among what Jacques Maritain called the dreamers of the true; she draws us into the dream.”
"Review" by , “Like Nabokov, Ugresic affirms our ability to remember as a source for saving our moral and compassionate identity.”
"Review" by , “This sorrowful tale packs a powerful punch.”
"Review" by , The Ministry of Pain is a shiningly weird and powerful novel...[it] approaches perfection.”
"Synopsis" by , The Ministry of Pain tells the story of Tanja Lucic', an exile from Yugoslavia and a lecturer in Serbo-Croatian literature at the University of Amsterdam. Her class is filled with other Yugoslav exiles, not much younger than she, who have found temporary refuge in the Department of Slavonic Languages. Rather than teach literature, Tanja prods the students to reconstruct their pasts by writing essays that indulge their "Yugonostalgia" and their memories of Yugoslavia's culture and disintegration in war. Meanwhile, Tanja and her student Igor form a dangerously close relationship that threatens to unleash all the tensions of life in exile. With her sharp and melancholy observations, Dubravka Ugresic illuminates with savage compassion our shared human homelessness.
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