Translated from the original Slovene by Timothy Pogacar
On the Gold Coast is a complex and multilayered novel set in West Africa in 1980. Six Europeans – a young man in search of his missing father, two couples in search of a solution to their marital problems, and a mysterious young woman who keeps changing her identity – follow the trail described in the famous travel memoir White Rider, Black Horse. Its author, Igor Hladnik has mysteriously disappeared, leaving behind only the unfinished manuscript of his last African journey (also undertaken along the trail of his previous jorney). Mysteries pile up as the travellers’ paths cross and re-cross, leading them to the Gold Coast. Through Cameroon, Nigeria, Niger, Upper Volta and Ghana, they follow in each other’s footsteps, unaware that the mysterious Adriana is playing with their lives and weaving the threads of their experiences into a fateful tapestry to escape her inner emptiness. Inspired by the descriptions in Hladnik’s books, they find their encounter with the real Africa blurred, almost obscured, or, rather, distorted by the power of literature and the visual media which influence, even dictate their perceptions.
About the Author
Evald Flisar (Slovenian). Novelist, playwright, essayist, editor, globe-trotter (travelled in more than 90 countries), underground dtain driver in Sydney, editor of (among other publications) an encyclopaedia of science and invention in London, author of short stories and radio plays for the BBc, president of the Slovene Writers’ Association (1995 – 2002), since 1998 editior of the oldest Slovenian literary journal Sodobnost (Contemporary Review). Author of eleven novels (six short-listed for kresnik, the Slovenian “Booker”), two collection of short stories, three travelogues, two books for children, and fifteen stage plays. Winner of the Preseren Foundation Prize, the highest state award for prose and drama, the prestigious Zupancic Award for lifetime achievement, three awards for Best Play of the Year, etc. Various works translated into 33 languages. His stage plays are regularly performed all over the world. Attended more than 50 literary readings and festivals on all continents. Lived abroad for 20 years (three years in Australia), 17 years in London). Since 1990, resident in Ljubljana, Slovenia.
The novel On the Gold Coast was shortlisted for Kresnik (the Slovene national award for the best novel of 2010). Not a single thing in this ambitiously interwoven African story turns out to be what it appears to be. Secrets and mysteries, real and imagined, chief among them the source of our desperate urge to take control of life instead of remaining its plaything, are resolved only at the very end, when apparent fragments are retrospectively joined into an unexpected whole. (Slovenian Book Agency)