Nominated by:

Gradska Knjiznica Rijeka, Croatia

Mestna knjižnica Ljubljana, Slovenia

Publisher of nominated edition:

Istros Books, UK

Yugoslavia, My Fatherland

Goran Vojnović    

Translated from the original Slovene by Noah Charney

When Vladan Borojević googles the name of his father Nedelko, a former officer in the Yugoslav People’s Army, supposedly killed in the civil war after the decay of Yugoslavia, he unexpectedly discovers a dark family secret. The story which which then unfolds takes him back to the catastrophic events of 1991, when he first heard the military term deployment and his idyllic childhood came to a sudden end.

Seventeen years later Vladan’s discovery that he is the son of a fugitive war criminal sends him off on a journey round the Balkans to find his elusive father. On the way, he also finds out how the falling apart of his family is closely linked with the disintegration of the world they used to live in. The story of the Borojević family strings and juxtaposes images of the Balkans past and present, but mainly deals with the tragic fates of people who managed to avoid the bombs, but were unable to escape the war.

(from publisher)

About the Author

Goran Vojnović (b. 1980) graduated from the Academy of Theatre, Radio, Film and Television in Ljubljana, where he specialised in directing and screenwriting. He co-wrote the script of the film Good Luck Nedim which won the Heart of Sarajevo Award and was nominated for the European Film Academy’s Best Short Film Award. He has directed three short films himself and his first feature film Piran/Pirano premiered in 2010. Film magazines and newspapers regularly publish his articles and columns. His bestselling debut novel Southern Scum go home! reaped all the major literary awards in Slovenia, has been reprinted five times and translated into numerous foreign languages. A collection of his columns from a Slovene daily newspaper and weekly magazine have also been published as a book under the title When Jimmy Choo meets Fidel Castro.

Librarians’ Comments

Vojnović is a Slovenian literary author, screen writer and film director, whose knowledge of film-making reflects in his fiction. This is a story that inextricably links disintegration of a family to the disintegration of a country and a social system. In words of the publisher, this is a story of the “tragic fates of people who managed to avoid the bombs, but were unable to escape the war”.

A brilliant, sharp and human story of common people and their tragical destiny after the Balkan wars in the nineties of the past century. The story is told in rich, fluent language and in conversational tone. It is an extremely well thought-out novel because the author knows the material, the ethnic and linguistic nuances and uses a lively sense of humour. It was awarded the Kresnik Prize for Novel of the Year in 2013.

Related Entries