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KIS

#19: Varhaisia suruja [Rani jadi] (2006, orig. 1969) by Danilo Kiš. Finnish translation by Kari Klemelä, afterword by Barbara Lönnqvist

Varhaisia suruja is the first collection of short stories by the Serbian-Jewish author Danilo Kiš (1935-1989) translated into Finnish. Here's another world-renowned literary talent that has been virtually unknown in Finland up until now!

The peculiar associative, painterly style strongly reminds me of Milorad Pavić, another Serbian master and one of my favorites. The network of associations joins several overlapping 'pictures' into a richly associative work of art, an enigmatic game. Whereas Pavić's symbols are humorous and multifaceted in the truly postmodern sense, Kiš is more lyrical, romantic, serious. The word here is childhood memories, nostalgia.

I'm stunned; this text is nothing short of illustrious. I'm only troubled by the title of the collection: it seems to refer directly to Frühes leid by Thomas Mann, but the full significance of such a connection escapes me. Kiš might well become one of my new favorites if only his work was generally available--Hourglass remains on my Wish List. Will have to keep an eye on any upcoming Mansarda publications as well.

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