The protagonists of Suzana Tratnik’s short stories all share a sense of isolation on society’s margins. Whether non-participants in the mainstream, rebels against it, or its occasional victims, they’re well practiced at recognizing the herd instinct in action. From the six-year-old girl who discovers transgressive new games to play with her glamorous cousin from England; to a decidedly unusual schoolchild inventing a novel way of getting back at playground bullies; to young women who find their love interests drifting away, seduced by conventional notions of popularity and success; to a narrator who suddenly finds herself on no ordinary train trip through the heart of Slovenia―these are characters and stories that deftly and sardonically underscore the phantom nature of “normalcy” itself and the risks of its tyranny for dissenters and conformists alike.
Suzana Tratnik (born 1963) is a writer, translator, publicist, and sociologist. She has published six short-story collections, two novels (My Name is Damjan and Third World), a play, and three works of nonfiction. Tratnik was one of the founders of the LGBT-rights movement in 1980s Yugoslavia and was instrumental in creating one of Eastern Europe’s most vibrant alternative cultural scenes before the fall of the Berlin Wall. In 2007 she was awarded the Prešeren Foundation Prize, one of Slovenia’s most prestigious literary awards.