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Hidden Camera (Eastern European Literature)by Zoran Zivkovic
Synopses & Reviews
From one of Serbia's greatest contemporary writers, Hidden Camera opens with the narrator finding a mysterious, blank envelope stuck in his apartment door inviting him to a private showing of a movie. Or so he initially thinks. Upon arrival at the theatre, he discovers that there's only one other person in the audience, a very attractive woman whom he's seated next to. Then things get a bit more mysterious. The movie he's been invited to see includes a scene showing him sitting in a park. Believing that he's an unwitting participant in a complicated hidden camera show, he goes along with the variety of setups he's faced with, which continue to get more involved and absurd. As the show develops, he becomes more and more paranoid and distrustful, but he keeps up the ruse to its thrilling conclusion.
Hidden Camera was nominated for the 2007 International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award.
"Zivkovic surveys the shifting line between paranoid fantasy and legitimate threat in his mystifying novel. When the unnamed narrator, an undertaker, is invited to a private film screening, he's surprised to see that the movie is one sustained shot of himself sitting on a park bench. With this episode, a complicated dance begins between the protagonist and his anonymous puppeteers, who manage to send him careening from one wild incident to the next. Directed to a used-book store, he discovers a novel supposedly written by him years in the future; obeying another mysterious invitation, he ventures to the zoo, where he has a close call in a bear cage, and things get worse from there. 'Undertakers primarily favor gentle, sentimental films,' he says indignantly, but there's nothing gentle about his adventures. Readers are propelled along as effectively as the narrator is, but they may be just as confused. As the story progresses, the undertaker's increasing paranoia makes it impossible to say how much of the danger is real and how much is imagined. After making a name for himself as a fantasy writer, Zivkovic has stepped intriguingly into experimental prose." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
The writing is wonderful, sometimes dense and foreboding, sometimes light and allusive, never less than accomplished, and always well-suited to the artistic task at hand.A short, meaty book, this is an antimodernist parable heavy enough for you to know you've absorbed real substance, yet ironic enough to ensure you don't want to kill yourself when it's over.Hidden Camerais a work of unexpected beauty and surprise. [...] Zivkovic is seeking to communicate something about the nature of life and death, of existence and non-existence, which bends perception into new and challenging shapes.Zivkovic does a superb job of communicating the befuddlement, confusion, and awe of individual characters as they wrestle with mysteries that exceed the understanding that their time, place and intellectual capacity permits.Winner of the 2003 World Fantasy Award for his novella The Library. . . Zoran Zivkovic is an immensely talented fabulist whose work is somewhat reminiscent of Italo Calvino's wry and delightfully surreal postmodern fictions.For all his control of mood and language, Zivkovic is a writer who prefers the playful to the profound, the scattering of seeds to the harvest.
"A glowing, romantic conundrum."--Booklist
About the Author
Zoran Zivkovic was born in Belgrade, former Yugoslavia in 1948. He worked as an editor, translator, and publisher before beginning his very productive, successful, and ongoing writing career. Winner of the World Fantasy Award, Zivkovic is the author of eleven works of fiction that, in the tradition of Borges and others, blur the line between the fantastic and real. He continues to live and work in Belgrade.Alice Copple-Tosic is a translator of Serbian fiction, particularly the works of Zoran Zivkovic. She has translated several of his novels, including The Writer, Impossible Encounters, Time Gifts, Seven Touches of Music, The Library, Steps through the Mist, and Hidden Camera.
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