Hamam Balkania : A Novel and Other Stories Paperback / softback
Part of the Best Balkan Books series
Vladislav Bajac's novel Hamam Balkania has won five awards, been printed in seven bestselling editions, and has finally come to the UK.
In the tradition of great modern Serbian novelists, Bajac twists and weaves a tale between old and new, modern and rusted, East and West, water and fire.
This is a book that lives in two parts - one set in the Ottoman empire of the 16th century, and the other in our own 21st century reality.
Here we have the story of two friends, both taken as children from their homes and inducted into the Turkish Sultan's private guard: Sokollu Mehmed Pasha, the Serbian shepherd boy who rose to the position of Grand Vizier and Koca Mimar Sinan, the 'Michelangelo of the East'.
Between them they represent both destruction and creation, while at the same time providing us with a harrowing insight into the heart of religion and identity.
Back in our own time, we hear the voice of the author, sharing with us his experiences in the modern world, and his musings on faith, identity and nation.
This is a truly ambitious book that rewards the reader with insights into some of the great questions of our time. The author's home country of Serbia is fascinated with its Ottoman roots, and this novel is no exception.
Bajac takes the lives of ancient figures and weaves them together with flashing, real, and dirty characters from Western society's recent past - his stories at times dipping their pen into the well of memoir.
Bajac has rubbed elbows with Leonard Cohen, and shared words and stages with literary greats - none of that is lost on the reader here. Two stories collide in the reader's mind, not on the pages, as if learning two different histories from two separate professors.
This is at once a story of friendship, and a book of warning: do we really know that which we believe we know so well?
- Format: Paperback / softback
- Pages: 320 pages
- Publisher: Istros Books
- Publication Date: 01/01/2014
- Category: Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)
- ISBN: 9781908236142