Synopses & Reviews
Borislav Pekic's The Houses of Belgrade, first published in 1970, draws a parallel between the unrest culminating in the Belgrade student riots of 1968 and that at two earlier points in the history of Yugoslavia: the riots which immediately preceded Germany's attack on Belgrade in the spring of 1941 and the turmoil of Serbia's entry into World War I. Pekic relates his tale through the character of Arsenie Negovan, one of the prime builders of houses in Belgrade. Although Arsenie is dying, losing his sanity as his life seeps away, his narrative is sustained by his intellectual and aesthetic vision, by his love of buildings and his passionate obsession with the houses of Belgrade. Through this metaphor of the gradual decline of a builder's mind, Pekic gives us a compelling look at the unspoken fear of loss and destruction in a chronically disrupted urban society.
The Houses of Belgrade,
first published in 1970, draws a parallel between the unrest culminating in the Belgrade student riots of 1968 and that at two earlier points in the history of Yugoslavia: the riots which preceded Germany's 1941 attack on Belgrade and the turmoil of Serbia's entry into WWI. Pekic relates his tale through Negovan, one of Belgrade's prime builders of houses, and through the metaphor of the gradual decline of the builder's mind presents a compelling look at the fear of loss and destruction in a chronically disrupted society.
About the Author
was born in 1930 in Podgorica, Yugoslavia. Arrested in 1948 for terrorism, armed rebellion, and espionage after the theft of a few typewriters and mimeographs, Pekiƒ spent five years in prison, where he began to write. He worked as a screenwriter and editor of a literary journal before publishing his first novel at age thirty-five. Constant trouble with the authorities led him to emigrate to London in the early 1970s. His novels include The Houses of Belgrade (1994) and The Time of Miracles (1994), both published by Northwestern University Press. He died of cancer in 1992 in London.
Stephen M. Dickey is an assistant professor of Slavic linguistics at the University of Virginia. He co-translated Mesa Selimoviƒ's Death and the Dervish (Northwestern, 1996).
Bogdan Rakic is a visiting associate professor of Slavic Literature at Indiana University. He co-translated Mesa Selimoviƒ's Death and the Dervish (Northwestern, 1996) and edited In a Foreign Harbor (Slavica, 2000). He is currently working on Borislav Pekiƒ's literary biography.