“I wrote a novel because I am usually interrupted when I speak.”

Svjetlana Gjoni about writing

Short synopsis:

Vienna, 2003. A mysterious woman in a flooded basement studio, a young man’s dead body dressed in female clothing and a manuscript of a strange novel. Thus begins this epic journey where pieces of a puzzle make up an intriguing discovery. Using two narrative voices, Gjoni tells us an interesting story about three women and their lives.

This is the novel about life and growing up in Zagreb in the 50’s, about the intriguing 80’s and about transition into the 90’s in artistic circles of Zagreb and Vienna.

Nemo Naught unfolds in the most exciting way – its stage becomes a camp in World War II Germany, post-war USSR, Middle, East and Southeast Europe – knitting a web out of life stories during past times that have already become closer to dream than memory.

Praise for Nemo Naught:

A very interesting narrative – digressive, complex, rich, and yet very amusing and easy to read… Gjoni is talented, educated and a masterful writer.

Dinko Kreho, booksa.hr

The most outstanding participant of all my workshops was Svjetlana Gjoni who won the V.B.Z’s Prize.
Which is purely her merit.

Ludwig Bauer (writer and creative writing teacher), from interview for mvinfo.hr

A digressive novel, just like the mind of a woman faced with yet another shipwreck of fate, so the storytelling becomes an attempt to redefine one’s own destiny. Nemo Naught is a powerful conformation with a life made of debris: books, pictures, objects and people that were stranded by soiled waters after the flood.

Zoran Ferić (from the book cover)

Gjoni knows very well that the reader should be immersed at the beginning of the story so, as she says, she “throws a hook” in the form of a crime scenario – a basement in Vienna, two dead bodies and a missing girl. The unfolding novel is the translation of the scrolls found with the lady who found herself in the basement when police arrived and said “alles im Roman”. This “all in the novel” is an extremely digressive story, narrated by two voices, that depicts intertwined destinies of three women – grandmother, mother and daughter, chained to the fate of others, cites writers and philosophers, presents conclusions, ask questions, and much much more.

Jagna Pogačnik, Jutarnji list

About the author:

Svjetlana Gjoni was born in 1950, in Zagreb where she graduated with a degree in Russian language and literature and Philosophy at the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Zagreb. Fond of languages, Gjoni learned Polish, English, German, Italian, Spanish and French. She is the first debutante to have won the V.B.Z.’s Prize for Best Unpublished Novel.

Other works: I was… / A bilo mi je…, 2014

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