Are you a fellow bookworm traveling to Slovenia soon? You might wanna read these 6 books about Slovenia before visiting.
Minuet for Guitar by Vitomil Zupan
Taking cues from the wartime epics of Ford Madox Ford and Louis-Ferdinand Céline, Vitomil Zupan tells the harrowing story of partisan soldier “Berk” and his surreal experiences as a guerrilla during the Axis occupation of Ljubljana. Running parallel to the jumble of Berk’s wartime experiences is his no less peculiar encounter with an old enemy during a vacation at a Spanish coastal resort. Together, the two men try to make sense of their wartime memories, leading past and future into a danse macabre undermining the certainties of each. A document of the horrors and tiny comedies of war, and an exploration of the nature of beauty and morality when subjected to the absurdity of history, Minuet for Guitar is an overwhelming literary achievement.
A Day in Spring by Ciril Kosmac
A Day in Spring is an exceptional work both within Kosmač’s oeuvre and in the arc of development of contemporary Slovenian narrative prose. First of all, because of the experiential power and exceptional consideration of the narrative process, also because of the lyrical intensity built by the narrator’s perspective, which grows out of intimate experience, and because of the fabulatory liveliness, whose motivational transitions are distinctly poetic. In 1953, when the novel was published, all of this was a novelty against the prevailing socially motivated first post-war narrative works.
Necropolis by Boris Pahor
Boris Pahor spent the last fourteen months of World War II as a prisoner and medic in the Nazi camps at Belsen, Harzungen, Dachau, and Natzweiler. His fellow prisoners comprised a veritable microcosm of Europe-Italians, French, Russians, Dutch, Poles, Germans. Twenty years later, when he visits a camp in the Vosges Mountains that has been preserved as a historical monument, images of his experiences come back to him: corpses being carried to the ovens; emaciated prisoners in wooden clogs and ragged, zebra-striped uniforms, struggling up the steps of a quarry or standing at roll call in the cold rain; the infirmary, reeking of dysentery and death. Necropolis is Pahor’s stirring account of his attempts to provide medical aid to prisoners in the face of the utter brutality of the camps-and of his coming to terms with the ineradicable guilt he feels, having survived when millions did not.
The Fig Tree by Goran Vojnovic
The Fig Tree is a multigenerational family saga, a tour de force spanning three generations from mid-20th century through the turbulent times in the Balkans until present day. Vojnović is a master storyteller, and while fateful choices made by his characters are often dictated by historical realities of the turbulent times they live in, at its heart this is an intimate story of family, of relationships, of love, freedom and the choices we make.
The Tree With No Name by Drago Jancar
A diary recounting four decades’ worth of sexual exploits, the memoir of a mental institution attendant, and a familiar-looking bicycle dredged out of a river–the discovery of these artifacts sends an archivist on an obsessive quest to discover their owners’ identities and fates. Shifting between Slovenia’s postcommunist present and its wartime occupation by the Axis powers, The Tree with No Name is Drago Jancar’s masterpiece: a compelling and universally significant story of an individual confronting the constraints set on truth by his–and every–culture.
I Saw Her That Night by Drago Jancar
I Saw Her That Night, a love story in time of war, is a novel about a few years in the life and mysterious disappearance of Veronika Zarnik, a young bourgeois woman from Ljubljana, sucked into the whirlwind of a turbulent period in history. We follow her story from the perspective of five different characters, who also talk about themselves, as well as the troubled Slovenian times before and during World War II; times that swallowed, like a Moloch, not only the people of various beliefs involved in historical events, but also those who lived on the fringes of tumultuous events, which they did not even fully comprehend—they only wanted to live. But “only” to live was an illusion: it was a time when, even under the seemingly safe and idyllic shelter of a manor house in Slovenia, it was impossible to avoid the rushing train of violence.