Monday, July 13, 2009


In FADO a book of essays by Andrzej Stasiuk that Dalkey Archive is to publish in September there is a short essay on the Yugoslavian--- as they were once called--- writer Miodrag Bulatovic. Of course the name was not unfamiliar as he had once been as well published as any foreign writer ever is in the United States. I remembered his A HERO ON A DONKEY and another title which I had never read but which Stasiuk mentions WAR WAS BETTER.

In an anthology of Yugoslav stories DEATH OF A SIMPLE GIANT I found a story by Bulatovic, The Lovers. Two lines: "It was definitely a form of illness to want anything." and the last line of the story, "I remember how your lips rotted away."

I do not think that any story published by an American author in the last 50 years comes close to the sensibility that would allow for two lines like these to appear in a story that is 15 pages of type. I can not imagine an editor who would have the courage or the taste to publish such a story today.