Miljenko Jergović’s latest novel is the most important work of this author so far. Composed of several separate parts - novels, documents, croquis, fragments, in which fictional and non-fictional parts alternate, and the real and the invented perfectly blend, this novel testifies to the fact that Miljenko Jergović is the best living narrator and novelist from the territory of ex-Yugoslavia. With many autobiographical elements, Kinsfolk is a saga about the family of Karlo Stubler, author’s great-grandfather.
Karlo Stubler, Danube Swabian, born in Bosowicz in Romanian Banat, was a railway worker who spent his life in Bosnia. His daughters married in Bosnia, his son studied in Vienna and Graz. German was the language spoken in his home, Serbo-Croatian outside his home. When he came to Bosnia, the state was called Austro-Hungarian Empire, but he lived most of his life in Yugoslavia. In 1943, his grandson was killed as a German soldier in Slavonia. Two years later, partisans came for Karlo Stubler, to take him to the camp for German minority in Yugoslavia, and later deport him to Germany. He was saved by the neighbors he had protected and hidden in his home during the war. Kinsfolk follows life stories of Karlo’s children and grandchildren, up to the death of his last grand-daughter, who lived in Sarajevo, and the extinction of that branch of the family.
Kinsfolk speaks about one century of Central Europe and the Balkans, through the destiny of author’s family. A novel, like a railway network (both Karlo Stubler and his son were railway workers), covers a whole epoch, the states which rotated in power and their merciless histories. From his great-grandfather and the beginning of the twentieth century to present day, the author and his destiny, Kinsfolk is the magnum opus of Miljenko Jergović, author we can rightly call the modern-day Ivo Andrić.
Njegoš Literary Award for 2015
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