“Disturbing, monumental work by Aleš Čar.”
Aleš Čar, one of the most intriguing contemporary Slovenian authors, follows in this masterfully composed novel three generations of a family living in a mining town along present day Slovenian-Italian border (since the 1930s, when the Town was in Italy, to WWII and cross-border smuggling in socialist Yugoslavia to present day).
At the center of the novel is the Father, a smuggler and double bass player who was in four different armies during the Great War and played four national anthems, his five daughters (Zero, First, Second, Third and Fourth) and two grandchildren (storyteller and the Last). The author suggestively shows global military madness, while simultaneously following a thin line into a complex family labyrinth, showing that personal hell is no less dreadful than an ideological one. Family secrets, complicated relations, incest, conflicts with consequences spanning over decades all make up for the tight knitting of this brilliantly written novel.
“Čar’s stroll through the 20th century brings insight into what basic Slovenian family values grew from and naturally into what mercilessly shook and destroyed them, from usual alcoholism to incest.”
Igor Bartož, Delo
Author: Aleš Čar