Cuts and Scars

  • Original language: Croatian

  • Pages: 160

  • Date of Publication: August 2017.

  • ISBN: 978-953266891-9

  • Original Title: Rezalište

  • Type of Binding: hardback

  • Format: 204 mm

  • Weight: 260 g

One warm evening, after 25 years, the time has come for a family to reunite in a town in the Balkans, which the sons had abandoned long ago, a town once bursting with happiness and prosperity and now overshadowed by the consequences of a recent war. The oldest son Vladimir, a prominent economy professor in the United States, daughter-in-law Helena and grandson David unexpectedly return from Chicago; grandmother Nadia and grandfather Klement cannot wait to finally see them. Another unexpected guest at this family dinner will be the other son Igor, a war reporter, a rootless man who blames himself for the family tragedy.

In the meantime, over the course of 25 years, everything has changed: the city, the country, the population, streets, faces, politics, but the trauma remains and it cannot be deleted neither by the passage of time nor by changing a geographic location. It has become an outlook, a way of thinking, a pattern of behaviour, and getting over it painful and full of uncertainty. And this is precisely what the characters have to do in order to get through the night. Like any night, this one also ends with a dawn, but we do not know if it brings a new beginning or only a new separation, just like we cannot know our destiny.

The novel is structured like a ‘menu’. Throughout the course of a single night, from aperitif, appetiser, main dish, cheese, cake to digestive, Igor Štiks leads us through a thrilling family history which is inevitably burdened by the politics of the 20th and 21st century. Old conflicts, ideological and emotional, as well as old loves are lived again. A night unveils long repressed secrets and proves that the past cannot be restored but that humanity and closeness can nevertheless escape its claws. Igor Štiks’s new novel penetrates all the cuts and wounds inflicted on people by the war and mutual injuries, it delves into the matters of emotions and the impossibility to cut out the past and other people with scissors. Rezalište in Croatian refers to a place where old ships are sent to be cut and discarded but it can also be understood as a metaphor of history and its impact on human lives. It refers to real cuts and scars; and every cut and every scar, external or internal, has a story to tell.