In Between, novel (Između, Disput, Croatia, 2022)
This novel is about the migrant experience of a young married couple from Zagreb in the English industrial city of Birmingham from 2011 to 2022. Marko, an incomplete student of economics, who leaves Croatia to pay off his loan in Swiss Francs, finds work as a construction worker, and Sandra soon joins him, carried away by dreams of drinking tea and the English lifestyle. Reality is entirely different because she cannot follow her profession as a teacher. Sandra accepts a position at the bus station counter. The novel follows their emotional and practical life between Birmingham and Zagreb, the dilemma of staying or returning, their struggle to fit into the British way of life, and the increasingly strong realization that Zagreb is becoming a foreign city to them. In this splitting and dissolution of identity, Marko and Sandra change as people; even their official status in the two countries changes, and their relationship undergoes many trials. The author asks how the same person can be an emigrant in one’s own country and an immigrant in another’s and how these terms allow us to quickly pigeonhole people without even listening to their stories.
The Palisander Guitar, novel (Gitara od palisandra, Disput, Croatia, 2018)
The Palisander Guitar follows five women who are connected by a magical guitar made of palisander wood. The destiny of each woman is unravelled as we follow the guitar from seed to tree, the crafting of the guitar and finally the instrument being played on stage. Although these women are temporally and spatially remote from each other, their stories are intertwined. Asha belongs to a tribe of travellers that are expelled from the community; Ruza is a wife of a woodcutter who enters the forbidden forest to save her family; Sirotica lives with a guitar-builder who wants to use the palisander guitar as a dowry to marry her; Gabrijela is a muse to artists in a passionate relationship with a composer; and Petra is a famous guitar player who gets pregnant and has to decide whether to keep her baby. This is a story about motherhood, nature and birthing of an art piece.
“The Palisander Guitar is a profound and well-thought-out story about love, passion, artistic creation, but also about fears, hatred and pain… This is a novel about courage and hope, but most of all about the primordial need of the human being to give order and sense to its existence in a chaotic world. At the same time, it is a tender and emotional story, which discretely reminds us of the value and purpose of art in a world growing increasingly forgetful.” Mirko Kovač Award
The novel was in the finals of the European Literature Award and the T-portal Award. It received the prestigious “Mirko Kovac” award for the best new author, and has been translated and published in Bulgaria, Macedonia and France.
La Guitare de palissandre
Китара от палисандрово дървo
The Colibri Publishers 2021
Translator: Asya Tihinova-Yovanovitch
Гитара од палисандер
Антолог (antolog.mk) 2021
Translator: Vladimir Jankovski
Rain in India, Summer in Berlin, collection of short stories (Kiša u Indiji, ljeto u Berlinu, Disput, Croatia, 2016)
The book contains eighteen short stories, all connected with travel and each told from a different perspective: tourists, dreamers, pilgrims, adventurers, migrants. The author starts from her own country, travelling to Zagreb, Marija Bistrica and Vukovar, but then continues to Ohrid, the small Czech town of Telč and metropolises such as Berlin and London. We cross Marrakesh, Tunisia, and India, each showing different cultures and customs. This is not a travel guide, but stories of people on a journey. Whether in Croatia or India, travelling for pleasure or pure necessity, they all discover something about themselves, proving that travel is not about finding foreign geographical places but discovering our inner worlds. The book won the „Slavić“ award from the Croatian Writers’ Association for best debut writer.
Crybaby, picturebook (Plačko, Semafora, Croatia, 2020)
Illustrator: Boris Kugler
The boy in this story cries constantly: he sheds tears when he should and when he shouldn’t. He often uses crying as a superpower. People start calling him Crybaby, and the name sticks. Soon, he can’t even remember the name his parents chose for him when he was born. He confides to his fish – he doesn’t want to be Crybaby anymore! That night, his room is flooded by a sea of tears, and he sets sail on an adventure, where he meets Professor Teary, the terrible Crocodile and Wise Onion. They teach him why we cry, what tears are made of and how to describe our feelings with words – but also why it is good to cry sometimes. In the end, will Crybaby rediscover his real name?