The Time of the Goats

Luan Starova. Univ. of Wisconsin, $24.95 (162p) ISBN 978-0-299-29094-8
Set in 1940s Yugoslavia, this dark, peculiarly comic novel—the second in an acclaimed multivolume Balkan saga—picks up where Starova's My Father's Books leaves off. As the novel begins, Tito has relocated the peasants to the city of Skopje so that they may become the new urban proletariat. But the invasive multitude of goats that the peasants have brought with them to the city creates a dilemma. While the hungry people of Skopje come to rely on the goats' milk and cheese, the central government decrees the goats to be the enemies of Socialism and calls for their slaughter. As the narrator's intellectual father works closely with Changa, the leader of the goatherds, to find a solution, the novel's tone moves steadily towards allegory and folklore; and as with most folk tales, the ending seems preordained, intended to teach its reader a lesson. There is never any doubt about what fate the Balkan goats will suffer, and thus, no real surprises to be had in this novel. But that element seems of secondary importance to Starova, whose interest seems to lie in depicting the small drama of life under Tito and the harm caused by the decrees of a conflicted and remote Communist party. (Dec.)
Reviewed on: 12/24/2012
Release date: 12/01/2012
Open Ebook - 152 pages - 978-0-299-29093-1
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