Fragile Travelers

Jovanka Živanovic´, trans. from the Serbian by Jovanka Kalaba. Dalkey Archive (Ingram, dist.), $14 trade paper (128p) ISBN 978-1-943150-03-8
Serbian-born ivanovi ’s first work translated into English tells the extraordinary story of how Petar Naumov, husband and architect, disappears from his home and finds himself trapped in the dreams of Emilija Savic, an emotionally troubled art teacher looking for meaning and clarity in everyday life. The importance of love, wisdom, and the duality of spirituality and reality are explored through the dream interactions between Petar and Emilija, who are mere acquaintances in the waking world. Emilija’s dreams, at times terrifying and confusing, guide the two oneironauts through enduring existential crises around morality, finding meaning in life, and persevering through hard times. Their individual introspections seek to make sense of Emilija’s dreams, and the truths discovered there point the way toward finding meaning in their lives. Petar and Emilija’s relationships with their respective partners in the physical world—Petar’s hardworking and doting wife, Andelija, and Emilia’s life partner, Zarko, a level-headed lawyer turned poet who basks in his wife’s creativity—exemplify the different kinds of human love and support. ivanovi suspends reality in this delicate, beautiful short book to explore the questions plaguing humankind and pay homage to the power and importance of having a connection with another—a soul mate to offer support in life and in the darkest corners of the mind. (July)
Reviewed on: 04/18/2016
Release date: 07/01/2016
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