“The Leader symbolises a ruthless totalitarian, whether left or right winged, whether ruler or grey eminence, head of secret service or tycoon. That kind of leader is a curse that has accompanied this area for almost a century, as if the people cannot let go of their leaders and constantly rely on them to lead them towards a better future.”

Aleksandar Novaković about his novel The Leader

Short synopsis:

The Leader is a precise and painful dissection of brutal, arrogant and completely paranoid energy, filled with eternal hate and contempt, an energy which moves, services and feeds all our wars.

The story follows one day, St. Vitus Day, the year 1914, in the life of Stojan Stamenković, captain of the fifth batch of the Second regiment, executioner of the Balkan Wars, merciless exterminator of the Bulgarians, expeller of the Turkish people, serial killer of innocent civilians in Albania, man with no mercy, drunkard and vagabond.

Novaković wrote a narrative which covers a period of almost forty years of unexpected chronological interjections in a day and skillfully creates the atmosphere where nightmare, alcohol-induced visions and even darker realities meet and form an extremely exciting novelistic material.

Praise for The Leader:

The Leader could be read as an allegory, a text that is not just a historical novel. Besides, this awarded book is a thematically unique narrative on the contemporary literary scene and will surely catch the reader’s attention. Definitely Novaković’s best work so far.

Mića Vujičić, yellowcab.com

Novaković wrote a convincing and masterful case study that is universally applicable, especially in the Balkan nations…

Vladimir Arsenić, e-novine.com

The Leader is a postmodern novel, primarily because it promotes mistrust towards any kind of grand narrative. It is an extremely disturbing, intelligent and meticulously written novel – my only complaint is that it is too short.

Matko Vladanović, booksa.hr

Although skilfully and cleverly anchored in a particular moment, with clear indications of political and other turmoil in Serbia just before World War I and digressions into the past, The Leader is not restricted by reality – but has the impetus for the visions and surreal scenes that make it a more elaborate and powerful text.

Jagna Pogačnik, Jutarnji list

It seems to me that the profound horror of this novel doesn’t come from the fact that it shows the world of violence and brutality, crime and criminals – we are already so exposed to that in our everyday lives and our level of tolerance is quite hight – here the horror is, it seems to me, something else: a subtle support to patriarchal violence provided by its victims.

Dubravka Bogutovac, Književna republika

About the author:

Aleksandar Novaković was born in 1975 in Belgrade. He graduated as a historian and dramatist, and holds a PhD in theatrical studies from the University of Arts in Belgrade. A writer and a journalist, Novaković writes poetry, prose, drama, screenplays and aphorisms which have been published in many newspapers, magazines and art periodicals (NIN, Danas, Književni list, URB, Koraci, Lipar, Reč, Polja, Letopis Matice srpske, Treći trg, Znak, Kvartal).

Other works: Drink Socrates, the State Pays / Pij Sokrate, država časti, 1998; The System / Sistem, 2001; Teeth / Zubi, 2004; Intimacy / Bliskost, 2006; It’s not Going to Work / Neće moći, 2006; Aladdin’s Mistery Lamp /Aladinova čarobna lampa, 2007; Glacier / Glečer, 2007; Celtic Tale / Keltska priča, 2008; Our Man, the Co-author / Naš čovjek, koautor, 2008; Two in One /Dva u jednom, 2009; Killing Moon, 2009; After Utopia / Posle Utopije, 2009; Not Enough / Malo li je, 2011; Guitarist on H.M.S. Titanic / Gitarista na Titaniku, 2013

Awards, selection: Prize for literature at the 25th Salon of Young Artists in Zagreb, 1998; Prize for the best book of poetry at the 5th Kvirin΄s Meetings, 2001; The Kiklop Award for the best book of poetry, 2006; The Dobriša Cesarić Award for best unpublished book of poetry, 2009; The Risto Ratković Award for poetry, Monetenegro, 2010

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