Nominated by:

Mestna knjižnica Ljubljana, Slovenia

Publisher of nominated edition:

Istros Books, UK

Dry Season

Gabriela Babnik      

Translated from the original Slovene by Rawley Grau

 2017 Longlist

Dry Season breaks the mould of what we usually expect from a writer from a small, Central European nation. With a global perspective, Babnik takes on the themes of racism, the role of women in modern society and the loneliness of the human condition.

Dry Season is a record of an unusual love affair. Anna is a 62-year-old designer from Slovenia and Ismael is a 27-year-old from Burkino Faso who was brought up on the street, where he was often the victim of abuse. What unites them is the loneliness of their bodies, a tragic childhood and the dry hamartan season, during which neither nature nor love is able to flourish. She soon realizes that the emptiness between them is not really caused by their skin colour and age difference, but predominantly by her belonging to the Western culture in which she has lost or abandoned all the preordained roles of daughter, wife and mother. Sex does not outstrip the loneliness and repressed secrets from the past surface into a world she sees as much crueller and, at the same time, more innocent than her own.

Cleverly written as an alternating narrative of both sides in the relationship, the novel is interlaced with magic realism.

(from publisher)

About the Author

Gabriela Babnik was born in 1979 in Germany. She regularly contributes articles to all the major daily and weekly publications in Slovenia. In 2005, Babnik graduated in Comparative Literature and Literary Theory at the University of Ljubljana. Her first novel Koža iz bombaža (Cotton Skin) was published in 2007 and was awarded the Best Debut Novel by the Union of Slovenian Publishers at the Slovenian Book Fair. In 2009, her second novel V visoki travi (In the Tall Grass) was published and shortlisted for the Kresnik Award. Babnik lives with her family in Ljubljana.

Librarian’s Comments

Dry Season is a colourful tapestry, interwoven with elements of two different worlds, two completely different lives. It is much more than just a story of an unusual relationship between an older white women and a young African man, both burdened with post traumatic experiences. It is a mature, critical and inimitable writing with a global insight into the African society of today. Dry Seaason was the winner of the European Union Prize for Literature.

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