From the story of Steffie Cvek to “The Kharms Case,” the pieces in Dubravka Ugresic’s collection, Lend Me Your Character, are always smart and endlessly entertaining. The former story paints a picture of a harassed and vulnerable typist whose life is shaped entirely by clichés. She searches endlessly for an elusive romantic love in a narrative punctuated by threadbare advice from women’s magazines and constructed like a sewing pattern. The latter story is one of Ugresic’s funniest and is about the strained relationship between a persistent translator and an unresponsive publisher.
The stories collected in Lend Me Your Character—the novella “Steffie Cvek in the Jaws of Life” and a collection of short stories entitled “Life Is a Fairy Tale”—solidify Ugresic’s reputation as one of Eastern Europe’s most playful and inventive writers.