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See note on methodology

There is a clear runaway winner here, one of the clearest winners I have had in this series of posts; and I fear that my Slovenian friends are not going to be very happy about it. A 1988 novel by a Brazilian writer, mainly set in a mental hosiptal near Ljubljana, it was made into a 2009 film starring Sarah Michelle "Buffy" Gellar (though apparently the film moves the setting to New York, rather than Slovenia, so as not to confuse the audience). I hated the only book I have read by this author, and I see nothing about his Slovenian-set novel that makes me think I want to read it. It is:

Veronika Decides to Die / Veronika Decide Morrer, by Paulo Coelho

Obviously the best-known Slovenian writer is Slavoj Žižek, though he generally writes in English these days, and it's difficult to see how one can argue that any of his his best-known works - The Sublime Object of Ideology, Violence, First as Tragedy, Then as Farce and Welcome to the Desert of the Real - is set in Slovenia. 

The top book actually set in Slovenia, by a Slovenian writer, on GoodReads, by a decent margin, is a 2008 novel about young people in Ljubljana whose families fled Bosnia during the war, and the working out of the tensions of the legacy of conflict. It got some unwelcome publicity when the Slovenian police tried to ban it shortly after publication (this collapsed in a welter of publicity which ended the career of the senior policeman concerned). It is:

Southern Scum Go Home / Čefurji raus!, by Goran Vojnović

The top book set in Slovenia by a Slovenian writer on GoodReads (by a very slim margin) is an entirely different affair, a 1984 novel set in Maribor on the eve of the second world war, where a businessman (Maybe Austrian? Maybe not?) stops and makes an assessment of his life and the world. It is:

Northern Lights / Severni sij, by Drago Jančar

But I'm afraid today's prize goes to the Brazilian.


( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
Mar. 15th, 2015 06:36 pm (UTC)
The Radetzky March
Joseph Roth, the famous interwar Austrian writer, wrote several books set in Slovenia. "The Radetzky March" is probably the most famous; it's not well known in the English-speaking world, but it is a major work in Central Europe. It has been in print nonstop for 80 years, and regularly appears on lists of "greatest German-language novels"; see, e.g., http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Best_German_Novels_of_the_Twentieth_Century.

It's currently in print in English, and is well worth reading. Given its longevity, I think it has a legitimate shot at the palm.

Doug M.
Mar. 15th, 2015 10:00 pm (UTC)
I read Veronika Decides To Die with a work book club, and loathed it so much I've never tried another of his works...
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )

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