Nicholas (nwhyte) wrote,
Nicholas
nwhyte

What is the best-known book set in Montenegro?

See note on methodology

The book most often tagged "Montenegro" on both Goodreads and LibraryThing must, alas, be disqualified because only a small part of a very long book is set there. It does, however, have one of the best quotes ever about Montenegro (see page 1009):
It is said that a traveller said to a Montenegrin, 'How many of your people are there? and he answered, 'With Russia, one hundred and eighty millions,' and the traveller, knowing there were not two hundred thousand of them said, 'Yes, but how many without the Russians?' and the Montenegrin answered, 'We will never desert the Russians'.
First published in 1942, and dedicated "To my friends in Yugoslavia, who are now all dead or enslaved", it is:

Black Lamb and Grey Falcon, by Rebecca West

The top book by ownership on both GR and LT which is mostly set in Montenegro is part of a long series of detective novels which are mostly set in New York, and whose central character is a Montenegrin. He rarely leaves his house and orchids on West 35th Street, but in 1954 he returns home to avenge the murder of an old friend in the appropriately named:

The Black Mountain (Nero Wolfe #24), by Rex Stout

It's followed very closely on Goodreads - again illustrating Goodreads' occasional deep reach into local literary traditions - by the national epic poem, published in 1847, written by the man who ruled the country from 1830 to 1851 and describing the bloody exploits of one of his ancestors. It is:

The Mountain Wreath / Горски вијенац / Gorski vijenac, by Prince-Bishop Petar II Petrović-Njegoš

That is very far behind on LibraryThing, where the next book with a Montenegro setting is a 2000 novel about a young botanist who gets caught up in Balkan intrigue in the critical year of 1908. Again appropriately named, it is:

Montenegro, by Starling Lawrence

I'm in a quoting mood today, so here's another from a literary classic of 1925, in which the title character recounts his experiences of the Great War:
"...every Allied government gave me a decoration — even Montenegro, little Montenegro down on the Adriatic Sea!”
     Little Montenegro! He lifted up the words and nodded at them — with his smile. The smile comprehended Montenegro’s troubled history and sympathized with the brave struggles of the Montenegrin people. It appreciated fully the chain of national circumstances which had elicited this tribute from Montenegro’s warm little heart. My incredulity was submerged in fascination now; it was like skimming hastily through a dozen magazines.
     He reached in his pocket, and a piece of metal, slung on a ribbon, fell into my palm.
     “That’s the one from Montenegro.”
     To my astonishment, the thing had an authentic look
     “Orderi di Danilo,” ran the circular legend, “Montenegro, Nicolas Rex.”
     “Turn it.”
     “Major Jay Gatsby,” I read, “For Valour Extraordinary.”
Yep, The Great Gatsby himself had been there.
Tags: famous books by geography, world: montenegro
Subscribe
  • Post a new comment

    Error

    default userpic

    Your reply will be screened

    Your IP address will be recorded 

    When you submit the form an invisible reCAPTCHA check will be performed.
    You must follow the Privacy Policy and Google Terms of use.
  • 0 comments