A Tomb for Boris Davidovich
Translated by Duska Mikic-Mitchell
Introduction by Joseph Brodsky
Afterword by William T. Vollmann
Composed of seven dark tales, A Tomb for Boris Davidovich presents variations on the theme of political and social self-destruction throughout Eastern Europe in the first half of the twentieth century. The characters in these stories are caught in a world of political hypocrisy, which ultimately leads to death, their common fate. Although the stories Kis tells are based on historical events, the beauty and precision of his prose elevates these ostensibly true stories into works of literary art that transcend the politics of their time.
Nb of pages 135 p.
Publication Date 01 June 2001
Nb of pages 135
Dimensions 5.5 x 8.5 in.
List Price $12.95
the knife with the
The story that I am about to tell, a story born in doubt and perplexity, has only the misfortune (some call it fortune) of being true: it was recorded by the hands of honorable people and reliable witnesses. But to be true in the way its author dreams about, it would be told in Romanian, Hungarian, Ukrainian, or Yiddish: or, rather, in a mixture of all these languages. Then, by the logic of chance and of murky, deep, unconscious happenings, through the consciousness of the narrator, there would flash also a Russian word or two, now a tender one like telyatina, now a hard one like kinjal. If the narrator, therefore, could reach the unattainable, terrifying moment of Babel, the humble pleadings and awful beseechings of Hanna Krzyewska would resound in Romanian, in Polish, in Ukrainian (as if here death were only the consequence of some great and fatal misunderstanding), and then just before the death rattle and final calm in her incoherence would turn into the prayer for the dead, spoken in Hebrew, the language of being and dying.
In Kis's case . . . it is the consistent quality of the local prose that counts. It is how, sentence by sentence, the song is built, and immeasurable meanings meant. It is the rich regalia of his rhetoric that leads us to acknowledge his authority. On his page, trappings are not trappings, but sovereignty itself.
An absolutely first-rate book, one of the best things I've ever seen on the whole experience of communism in Eastern Europe, but more than that, it's really a first-rate novel. -Irving Howe
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Genres : Fiction : Europe : Balkan
Genres : Fiction : Classics and Modernism
Genres : Fiction : Short Stories
Countries : Serbia