New reviews roundup

Reviews for several of Zoran’s books have been rolling in over the past two months. Apologies for the lack of updates; my day job as a schoolteacher took over my life for a while. Postings should be more regular from now on. –JEL, webmaster

The Last Book:
FOCUS Online (German)
Funkhaus Europa (German)*
Neue Zürcher Zeitung (Swiss)
Main-Echo (German)
Die Rheinpfalz (German)
Nahaufnahmen (German)
Nordwest Zeitung (German)

The Writer / The Book / The Reader:
Bibliophile Stalker
Público (Spanish)

The Bridge:
Bibliophile Stalker

Escher’s Loops and The Ghostwriter:
SF Site

Seven Touches of Music:
Acrisalves (Portuguese)

The Fourth Circle:
Acrisalves (Portuguese)

Hidden Camera:
Reading the Leaves

* This review mistakenly identifies the author as the former Prime Minister of Serbia, who has the same name. As Zoran says, “Sooner or later, it was bound to happen.”

Blesok review of Escher’s Loops

Escher's LoopsMy latest book, Escher’s Loops, has been reviewed in the Macedonian-based Blesok:

The four large threads are woven on more than three hundred pages, each with its own characters who, not by accident, are characters from the previous thread, characters and events that had been mentioned and are interconnected. In the first thread the connection is via an unusual memory, so where one starts, the second continues, the latter being part of the third and so on until it comes back to the first one, and in the second there is telling of stories which are also connected, each story being a story within a story, and so on until the next thread. The third thread is directly connected with suicides, more specifically the stories on suicides and the old lady in green, who, together with the gentleman in white would be the key to resolving the riddle, which would be hinted in the fourth thread, fully led by dreams. Taking into consideration all of these four elements – memory, stories, suicides, dreams, and the characters of the lady in green and the gentleman in white, we have the opportunity to only start the weaving, because somewhere at the end of the novel Zoran Živković returns us to the beginning again, without giving us the chance to make sure if we had undid ourselves in the proper way or not. Or maybe it does not matter how and if we had undid. Maybe it is more important to accept the game, and similarly to Escher’s graphics, one thread leads to another, and the latter leads to a new and unknown one.

Link to the full review.

New reviews of The Last Book

The Last Book has been receiving some nice attention recently. It seems my “meta-fictional thriller” is making quite an impact.

Here are four reviews of the German edition of the book, published by DTV in November 2008:

Here is a Finnish review of the book:

And Larry at OF Blog of the Fallen mentioned The Last Book in his 2008 roundup of translated fiction:

Serbian author Zoran Živković has been a favorite of mine ever since I read the 2004 English translation of his The Fourth Circle. Although most of his stories that I’ve read have been short, thematically-connected “story suites,” The Last Book is a suspense novel about why people are dying after they open a particular book. As is fitting for his tales, Živković’s tale is in turns surreal and poignant, with a twist ending that, while not surprising for those familiar with his writing, is a fitting conclusion to a playful mystery.

Michael Dirda on Zoran Zivkovic

Michael Dirda of The Washington Post recently provided a write-up of independent publishers of fantastic fiction, and had some very nice things to say about The Last Book:

As one who can never resist a bookish mystery, especially one with supernatural elements, I was deeply grateful when a friend sent me a copy of The Last Book, by Zoran Zivkovic (translated from the Serbian by Alice Copple-Tosic). Zivkovic is one of the most attractive new writers to enter fantasy recently, and he’s been mightily prolific, with much of his work brought out by PS, including his fat collection Impossible Stories. In general, the erudite Zivkovic may be likened to a more playful Borges, touched with a bit of Calvino and Kafka.

Link to the full article.

In addition to PS Publishing, which released The Last Book in the UK, Dirda also mentions several other small specialty presses that are certainly worth your attention.

The Last Book selected as Book of the Day

It seems my novel The Last Book is making quite an impact worldwide. It was just selected as “The Book of the Day” atthe very prestigious Literary Portal Lemeus. And here is the accompanying review — a rather favorable one (if you happen not to be able to read German).

Es gibt sie in jeder Stadt: die charmanten kleinen Buchhandlungen – Tummelplatz für Individualisten und Intellektuelle, Oasen für jene, die den Konsumwahnsinn meiden und eine persönliche, kompetente Beratung zu schätzen wissen. In jedem Fall ein in sich geschlossener Kosmos, den die einen verunsichert meiden, die anderen dafür umso mehr genießen. Doch kaum versieht man sich, kann aus jenem Idyll schnell ein Schauplatz des Unerklärlichen werden, zumindest wenn man Zoran Zivkovic, dem Meister des Schwarzen Humors und der serbischen Postmoderne, Glauben schenken darf.

Link to the full review.

Strange Horizons review of The Last Book

A very insightful, in-depth review by Matt Denault of The Last Book has just appeared at Strange Horizons:

Seeming, we are reminded in Zoran Zivkovic’s The Last Book, is not being: seeming is a story we impose based on surfaces. Zivkovic’s new metafictional mystery seems, for much of its length, designed to convey an appreciation for serious literature over and above any attempt to itself be serious literature. Allusions to Umberto Eco’s The Name of the Rose and exhortations to judge books by their content, not their genre, abound; meanwhile Zivkovic’s own story marches in lock-step with the most clichéd of mystery and thriller tropes. Yet by the novel’s end it has become clear that the convivial evocations of Eco’s work and of genre mystery signifiers must be read more as instructions to the reader than a description of content. This is a novel that requires detective work, and ultimately its strength lies in its very un-genre acknowledgement that there is a world beyond its covers.

Link to the full review.