About the Series

European Union was founded on the idea of a common, European cultural identity that is based on unique European history and experience. The goal of creating such an identity concept is to raise awareness about the fact that we are all equal as citizens of a transnational entity in which we can move freely, cooperate as professionals and share our life stories that shaped us as individuals.

In this sense literature is, as the art of telling stories, the perfect medium to strengthen awareness about our European origin and identity. As F. Scott Fitzgerald once said: “That is part of the beauty of all literature. You discover that your longings are universal longings, that you’re not lonely and isolated from anyone. You belong.” Bearing this in mind, V.B.Z. publishing company initiated a long-term project of interpreting some of the best European prose, in order to present to readers great works of literature written in so-called small languages and literatures. The project “Around Europe in 30 books” will unfold in three phases and it is aimed at bringing experiences of other Europeans closer to Croatian readers.

The project’s inaugural year is titled “Our Past, Our Present, Our Future” and it is dedicated to European traumas, especially the Holocaust and the ways in which World War II continues to shape our present. These topics will be tackled by the most famous names from these series: José Saramago, Portuguese Nobel Prize laureate who in his “Skylight” transports the reader to Lisbon during the 1940s, then Tadeusz Borowski, a Polish classic who talks about his painful experiences in Auschwitz and Dachau, and W. F. Hermans, the bard of Dutch postwar literature and author of the existentialist novel “The Darkroom of Damocles.” There are also younger writers: Aleš Čar, one of the most significant modern Slovenian authors with his novel “On Tolerability,” and Jáchym Topol, writer of the award winning novel “Through a Chilly Land.” Some of the more contemporary topics are represented by the master of Norwegian short stories Frode Grytten, Johanna Holmström from Finland who in her novel “Asphalt Angels” deals with issues of Muslim girls in Europe, Bulgarian author Emil Andreev, Răzvan Radulescu from Romania, and Italian author already well known in Croatia – Alessandro Baricco with his novel “Mr. Gwyn.”

ON TOLERABILITY

An intriguing and disturbing novel which follows three generations of a Slovenian family while showing that personal histories can be just as complex and tragic as those of nations.

ROOMS BY THE SEA, ROOMS IN THE CITY

A collection from a master of prose which, inspired by Edward Hopper’s "Nighthawks" painting, takes sneak peaks into rooms of characters faced with dilemmas of leaving or staying.

MR. GWYN

An unusual story about a middle aged writer who suddenly decides to run away from himself and find new ways to express his art.

GLASS RIVER

Life is only here and now, everything else is a glass river. Emil Andreev is one of the biggest names in contemporary Bulgarian literature. He is an author of several short story collections, novels and plays.

ASPHALT ANGELS

Best known novel of the star of Swedish-Finnish literature. When worlds collide, young girls are often the first victims...

THEODOSIUS THE SMALL

A masterpiece from a true master. Classical reading that draws one in and one of the best novels published in Romania after 1990.

THROUGH COLD LAND

This surreal dark humor novel starts in Terezin, a place in present day Czechia where, during the Habsburg Empire, the most modern military base was built and which the Nazis turned into a “transit camp” during WWII.

SKYLIGHT

Saramago’s lost manuscript, published 60 years after his death. A novel which intertwines stories of inhabitants in a Lisbon building during the 1940s and a great example of the author’s immeasurable talent for creating psychological character portraits.

WE WERE IN AUSCHWITZ

A book of short stories that give an objective and cold description of real Holocaust experiences from perspectives of inmates in Auschwitz and Dachau. The collection is now considered a literary classic and trustworthy testimonial of Nazi monstrosities.

THE DARKROOM OF DAMOCLES

Taking place in occupied Netherlands, this is a story about a salesman Henri Osewoudt who "does nothing, wants nothing, and has let everything be decided by chance."

The second phase of this project is titled “Our Life, Our Work, Our Future,” and it will deal with European everyday life – working conditions, poverty, family life, the position of women in society and the concept of prosperity. These books come from countries with various economic models, from those struck by the recession – Greece, Spain and Iceland, to those from the so-called Nordic democracy model, renowned for insisting on a welfare state, social mobility and gender equality – such as Denmark and Finland. This phase of the project will attempt to present experiences from and treatment of important problems, such as mutual differences, marginalization and the issue of gender equality. Special focus will be on prose by female authors from Hungary, Slovakia, Estonia, Belgium and Cyprus.

THE EXPERIMENT

A novel from Cyprus that intensively researches the nature of human lust and its influence on artists' work. Winner of the European Union Prize for Literature in 2010.

BORDER TERRITORY

A controversial novel that caused a true literary sensation after being published in Estonia. It was eventually translated into 15 foreign languages and remains the most translated book of Estonian literature following its independence.

THE FIFTH BOAT

An extraordinary story about relations of children and parents in modern society. "The Fifth Boat" is a highly regarded first book from one of the most important contemporary Slovak writers – Monika Kompaníková – for which she received the most prestigious Slovak literary award, the Anasoft litera, in 2011.

THE BLUE FOX

"The Blue Fox" is the perfect introduction to a literary talent of the highest order: Sjón, now one of the most famous and translated Icelandic authors, received the prestigious Nordic Council Award for this novel which has been translated into more than thirty languages.

SOMETHING WILL HAPPEN, YOU’LL SEE

The book "Something Will Happen, You’ll See" is considered as somewhat of a literary symbol of the Greek crisis. With its universal value and recent events which it portraits without censorship or pity, it thrilled global literary audiences.

THE TRUTH

A novel that won the prestigious Finnish Finlandia award while also achieving international success due to the fact it was translated into 17 languages. It is an elegant family story through which the author tries to distil intricate feelings, memories and traumas of three generations.

THE MISFORTUNATES

The novel is currently translated into more than 20 languages, and gave the author the title of “the greatest talent of Flemish literature.” A successful movie based on the novel was filmed in 2009 and it was the Belgian candidate for the Academy Award.

ONE OF US IS SLEEPING

A courageous and lyric novel on loss, in all of its forms, and a return to home in pursuit of peace written by Danish literary star and one of the most praised young Scandinavian female authors.

THE MOMENT

A rebellious novel and reinterpretation of the epic poem "Aeneid" in which the spear is placed in the hand of Aeneas’ wife Creusa who refuses to be sacrificed on the hero’s path to glory.

IN DIAMOND SQUARE

A masterpiece of the most important 20th century Catalan author that draws the reader in a direct and lively manner into Barcelona during the 1930s.

The final phase of the project is titled “Our Neighbors, Our Borders, Our Future” and the last ten works from the library invite the reader to observe our European voyage and learn stories from countries that will become members after us. Therefore this phase will include prose from former Yugoslav countries, Albania and Turkey. The library will provide a platform for open discussion on problems of the region, but also on problems between neighbors in a wider sense. The library will also include books from other countries with complex neighbor relations such as Lithuania, Latvia, Ireland and Malta.

In conclusion, the European Union was founded on principles of freedom, democracy and regard for human rights. As European citizens, we must adequately understand these notions, know our own heritage and work together towards a better future. Culture in general, and particularly literature, has always helped spread egalitarianism and exchange of experiences. It is the mission of V.B.Z. to facilitate this exchange by publishing 30 books by 30 superior European authors, in excellent translations from 30 European languages, with such diversity of topics that every Croatian reader will find their story in this library.

HIDDEN CAMERA

A story about three artists who meet in Vienna is just the frame for Lila’s auto fictional journal in which she notes her reminiscences.

DIARY OF THE SECOND WINTER

"Diary of the Second Winter" by Srđan Valjarević consists of two books – a daily diary by the author spanning over four months, from December 1st to March 31st, and a book of poems.

JELGAVA ’94

This is the first Latvian novel that portraits, in a realistic and convincing way, often with the author’s very refined sense of humor, what growing up was like in Latvia following the breakup of the Soviet Union.

THE NAMES THEY LEFT BEHIND

"The Names They Left Behind" is a book of eight stories about eight women which won the Maltese national literary award.

PROJEKT@PARTY

This novel by Beqë Cufaj is the first open and multi-layered critique of the work and engagement of international peacekeeping missions in this region.

ALONE AMONG THE IRISH

This writer and journalist used his peculiar, original and virtuoso-like short stories from the late 1970s until his death in 2013 to pave the way for completely new areas in prose, thus directly influencing many of today’s famous literary authors.

THE POOR MOUTH

The best known literary work written in Irish whose style and plot, along with the author's pseudonym are a parody of then extremely popular genre of fictional autobiographies and so-called personal histories/confessions in Irish literature.

TŪLA

One of the most important Lithuanian novels of the post-Soviet period. Lithuanians refer to it as the favorite book of Lithuanian students, while critics label it as the novel which introduced elements of "spontaneous" narrative and sensuality to modern Lithuanian prose.

THE DOLL

In his last novel, Ismail Kadare, a writer who has for almost half of a century been the most famous voice of Albanian literature, takes us on a journey of his life while describing the relationship he has with his mother who is "as fragile as a doll".

MORE

Apart from being the best-selling novel in Turkey in 2015, it was also wildly successful in Europe where it won the Medicis award for the best foreign novel translated to French and published by a French publisher (previous laureates include Orhan Pamuk and Umberto Eco).