Gold, Frankincense, and Myrrh

Slobodan Novak, Author Most/The Bridge $0 (244p) ISBN 978-0-948259-88-3
As Christmas approaches, 100-year-old Madonna lies on her death bed. Finicky, frail and foul-smelling, she is cared for by an exasperated man whose identity is never made quite clear--Is he a nephew? A grandson? The book consists of confrontations between Madonna and her coterie, juxtaposed with the narrator's childhood memories and various philosophical digressions on Communism in Yugoslavia (where the book is set), family and religion. In his first book to be published in this country, Novak displays an impressive eye for detail and interjects deft, sardonic touches throughout the book (``External shame lasts as long as a shoe horn'' is one epigram). But the overlay of symbolism grows wearisome. Aristocratic Madonna, whose very name is loaded with symbolic weight, is described as ``a cripple of confiscation, nationalization and collectivization, an historical cripple!'' No wonder she's ill! More than 200 pages are spent hovering at her bedside. After the first few chapters, the reader, like the characters who tend to Madonna, will undoubtedly grow more than a bit impatient waiting for the old woman to meet her maker. Illustrated. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1991
Release date: 01/01/1991
Paperback - 271 pages - 978-0-9754444-6-7
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