“Blessed is the solitude, blessed is the silence where things are created. There is so much noise produced because of the fear of everything that silence can bring. My character flees into solitude, he moves towards himself, because he is stern and enduring.”

Ivica Prtenjača about his novel The Hill

Short synopsis:

The main character and narrator of the novel The Hill decides to leave his way of living as a PR manager for the Museum of contemporary art and with it he leaves behind all the big events, speeches and art exhibitions so he can climb a hill on an Adriatic island and keep the island safe from fire. On the hill, while enjoying the company of a dog and an old donkey and the solitude of the isolated island, he finds his life anew.

The Hill is a deeply moving and complex insight into the main character – his inner thoughts and the context he lives in. The story unfolds gradually incorporating vivid characters, passers by: modern pilgrims, bikers, souls lost in the rhythm of contemporary life, hunters, veterans coping with PTSD, abusers.

There is nothing obtrusive in Prtenjača’s narration, only subtle, realistically and masterfully told story about a modern day man searching for the meaning of his life in a society that has lost its direction in the widest possible sense.

Published editions:

  • The Hill, V.B.Z. , Zagreb, 2016 – English translation
  • Брдо,  MakedonikaLitera, Skopje, 2016- Macedonian translation

Praise for The Hill:

On a mere hundred pages of condensed storytelling, “poetic detours”, meticulously crafted sentences, The Hill tells the story of the anti-hero of our time. His horror is unbearable primarily because of what he sees in himself – an individual who is becoming indifferent and afraid of change. However, Prtenjača’s character manages to feel that he is still in control of his life and can still find meaning in it. That is why we, the readers, faced with the same dilemmas, don’t really have to find some hill of our own, because now we have this, Prtenjača’s Hill.

Jagna Pogačnik, Jutarnji list

Prtenjača’s The Hill is a story about returning to nature in the manner of Rousseau, about the fight for survival of nature and humanity in a man, about the pursuit of lost freedom and identity.

Strahimir Primorac, Vijenac

A novel that reminds us how simple and light, yet serious and strong literature can be.

Draženka Robotić, citajme.com

The Hill can be read as a story about a modern saint. Maybe the man who guards others from fire and breaks bread is actually the Saint Francis of our time?

Zoran Ferić (from the back cover)

A beautiful and gentle, spiritual and witty text… Here stands a new Prtenjača, better than ever. His mythical The Hill is short but magnificent and powerful novel… For reading and rereading. To be read and reread, with a pause to feel and think, and then read again.

Vanja Kulaš, mvinfo.hr

Ivica Prtenjača is first and foremost a poet – his expression, even in prose, has no redundancy, it is poetic, perfectly precise and rich… In some other country Prtenjača would also write short books, but he would be a star – one of those authors whose books are eagerly awaited and read early in the morning, late at night, on the train, bus or subway… Books that transform readers from savages during work hours to human beings thirsty for beauty.

Tanja Tolić, najboljeknjige.com

About the author:

Ivica Prtenjača was born in Rijeka in 1969, where he graduated with a degree in Croatian language and literature. He writes poetry, prose and drama. His poetry has been translated into fifteen languages, among them into English, French, Swedish, Italian, Slovenian, Hungarian, German, Bulgarian and Macedonian. He participated in more than twenty European poetry festivals. Chair of the board for poetry events at the Goran’s Spring Festival, editor, promoter and spokesperson for publishers, freelance writer and columnist, author and presenter of radio programs “My Choice”, Prtenjača has been an active part of the Croatian cultural scene since 1998. He lives and works in Zagreb.

Other works: Writing Liberates / Pisanje oslobađa, 1999; Yves, 2001; Nobody Speaks Croatian / Nitko ne govori hrvatski (with Branko Čegec and Miroslav Mićanović), 2002; Take Everything that Makes you Calm  / Uzimaj sve što te smiruje, 2006; It is Good, It is Nice  / Dobro je, lijepo je, 2006; Cruelty / Okrutnost, 2010 At Yves: 12 Stories and 84 Recipes from Prtenjača’s Literary Cuisine / Kod Yvesa: 12 priča i 84 recepta iz Prtenjačine književne kuhinje, 2011

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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