“I was lying in bed reading, but my mind was in my feet, wishing for them to take me far away. And I cussed. Those bad feet. I also cussed at myself… It wasn’t possible to go far with those feet. ‘Fuck these feet,’ I cussed, calmed myself by doing it and fell asleep.”
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. The diary describes the struggle with his legs, and daily attempts to make as many steps, preferably without a cane, to get a bit further than yesterday, while 30 poems spilled all over the book describe what happened before these Belgrade strolls, his hospital experience after a severe illness, an inflammation of the spinal cord and nerves which made him temporarily immobile.
Diary of the Second Winter is in fact a literal diary of a struggle to live, to earn a new beginning; after a ruinous daily alcohol destruction leading to severe illness and a wheelchair, the author does not only describe how he learned to walk again, but also how illness changed him. Walking alongside him through streets of Belgrade, we see the world through his eyes which see things differently and clearly after the entire experience. Wise, shocking and precious book from one of the most important contemporary Serbian authors.
Author: Srđan Valjarević