“It doesn’t mean I’m immersed in trauma if I speak about something that happened. The memory is very important, but the question is am I a slave of my own memories, have they become my force. Can I speak about them too without difficulty, or just about today? There is a lot of humour in my narrative, humour that softens and relativizes, makes these events drinkable, smooth, edible…”

Pavelić about his novel The Karlín Spring

Short synopsis:

The Karlín Spring, “a sentimental personal history of an unloved bastard, two-time murderer and convict in Lepoglava – ideal and exemplary husband, father and citizen”, is another novel in which Pavelić takes us back to Bosnia, actually to his hometown Sarajevo, 1890-1964.

It is an epic narrative that explores different religions and cultures, the juxtaposition of modern and traditional, love and hate, dreams and reality, but above all, the ethical dilemmas – crime and punishment, suffering and redemption.

Pavelić is a passionate advocate of storytelling, his narrative, which flows gently and easily, is very layered and deeply thought out, well designed with a multitude of characters and a vivid display of their relationships, enriched with allusive language and an often self-aware narrator.

The Karlín Spring can (and should) be read as a part of writing odyssey, a kind of Bosnian saga, together with novels Sarajevans and Tales from Ilduza’s Pillow.

Praise for The Karlín Spring:

It is a novel that will surely find its readers. Traditional, in a brand of storytelling that sometimes resembles Šenoa’s he discusses the major topics of crime, punishment and redemption, and preserves different types of people, customs, houses and streets of a now almost forgotten time. It is a mosaic of diversity: corpse washers, manufacturers of soap, dream interpreters and matchmakers, all of which makes the novel fresh and exciting. For readers with an interest and sensibility for Bosnian topics that will be more than enough.

Marija Perica, Vijenac

The Sarajevo saga about human fates transcends its local boundaries and evolves into a universal story by the mere power of the author’s narrative magic, generated in the fluid touch between reality and fiction, with a slight breath of fantasy.

Strahimir Primorac (from back cover)

In his novels Pavelić is not prone to linear narratives, but rather constructs a plot from “little pieces”, episodes and numerous digressions, interrupted narration. He is a storyteller with the characteristics of a chronicler. At the same time, his novels tend to merge multiple genres – such as the elements of the historical novel, family saga and Bildungsroman. The Karlín Spring clearly emphasized the tradition of oral storytelling establishing narrator-listener relations while following the life of a man – from a bastard, killer, prisoner, to what we call a classic civilian life.

Jagna Pogačnik, Jutarnji list

About the author:

Dragan Pavelić was born in Sarajevo, in 1946. A prominent psychiatrist, professor of psychology at Academy of Performing Arts in Sarajevo, Pavelić moved to Zagreb during the 90’s where his literary career began.

Other works: Bosnian Chronicle / Bosanski ljetopis 1992–1993, 1994; Between Before and After / Između prije i poslije, 1998; Sarajevans / Sarajlije, 2001; Le Chapelet de Visoko, 2005; Tales from Ilduza’s Pillow / Priče iz Ilduzina jastuka, 2008; White Haired Widower (a novel on solitude and grief) / Bijeli udovac (roman o samovanju i tugovanju), 2012; The Book of a Winged Friar / Knjiga o krilatom fratru, 2015

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