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The Succubus (Slovenian Literature)by Vlado Zabot
Synopses & Reviews
In an unnamed city shrouded in mist, Valent Kosmina is a retiree living quietly yet discontentedly with his doped-up, TV-addicted wife. To escape the claustrophobia of home and city, he masquerades as a man of means and takes to spending his nights strolling through an opulent suburb—but when news comes of a gruesome murder on his new turf, Kosmina fears that he may be a suspect. Increasingly anxious and paranoid, Kosmina begins to see a mysterious dark-haired girl following him everywhere—and as this succubus takes hold of him, Kosmina finds his familiar city becoming indistinguishable from the landscape of his own nightmares.
from The Succubus:
This was hardly the first time Valent Kosmina had been unsettled by the thought that someone had pushed or seduced him—or that he had himself, perhaps out of clumsiness or carelessness, simply strayed—into a situation that would later be difficult to get out of. This idea, this fear, was in fact quite familiar to him, and naturally it unnerved him, but never to the degree that he couldn’t shrug it off. A sensible person, after all, manages in one way or another to per- suade himself that he is all right, that he is sufficiently in control of himself, and that life will therefore run its course, peacefully and properly, to its bitter end.
"The uneven English debut of acclaimed Slovenian novelist Zabot starts off strong before slipping into a muddle of paranoia and the hallucinations of Valent Kosmina, a retiree in an unnamed eastern European city. His wife hooked on television and tranquilizers, Valent passes the time by strolling through a distant neighborhood and posing as a gentleman of leisure. But when someone is murdered, Valent fears he will be a suspect since he has no real business there, and the novel begins its hopscotch descent into madness: Valent receives a mysterious letter, hears scratching sounds from the apartment next door, and is followed by a black-haired girl who becomes the object of his fantasies even as he's not certain whether she's real or imagined. While the novel's treatment of longing, lust, and madness have faint echoes of some canonical heavyweights-Dostoyevski, Nabokov-Zabot's prose is a love it or hate it proposition, and the increasingly erratic action devolves into little more than the crazy thoughts and actions of a crazy person.
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved." Publishers Weekly (Copyright PWyxz LLC)
Where the familiar urban world and the dream-logic of the unconscious mix . . . and produce monsters . . .
About the Author
Vlado Žabot is the author of several novels, and has been the recipient of both the prestigious Presseren Fund Award and the Kresnik Prize for Best Novel of the Year. Since 2003, he has been the president of the Slovene Writers’ Association.Rawley Grau’s translations include Vlado Zabot's The Succubus and The Hidden Handshake, a collection of essays by Ales Debeljak.Nikolai Jeffs teaches cultural theory at the Faculty of Arts, University of Ljubljana.
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