Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Ministry of Pain” as Want to Read:
The Ministry of Pain
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Ministry of Pain

3.77  ·  Rating Details ·  862 Ratings  ·  88 Reviews
Having fled the violent breakup of Yugoslavia, Tanja Lucic is now a professor of literature at the University of Amsterdam, where she teaches a class filled with other young Yugoslav exiles, most of whom earn meager wages assembling leather and rubber S&M clothing at a sweatshop they call the "Ministry." Abandoning literature, Tanja encourages her students to indulge t ...more
Paperback, 272 pages
Published February 27th 2007 by Harper Perennial (first published 2004)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Ministry of Pain, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Ministry of Pain

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Memory and what might be better forgotten.

So, today, 7/11/2010, I unintentionally wound up walking past the tourist trap known as the World Trade Center site, aka Ground Zero, aka whatever it is called. Roughly it had been 8 years, 10 months and five and a half hours, give or take some minutes since I last happened to be in the neighborhood. My first response to realizing we (that would be Karen and I) would be getting to see that spot was annoyance. As in, what the fuck, I wasn't expecting thi
I have never been in danger of losing my heritage. The US existed long before I was born, and will in all likelihood still be standing long after I'm gone. English is not going to split itself up into a hydra construction anytime soon, barring a disturbance of apocalyptic magnitude. And even if this language chimera did phase into being, there's little chance of the different strains hating each other to the point of genocide. I take this intrinsic stability for granted. You'd be hard pressed to ...more
Nathan "N.R." Gaddis
May 09, 2013 Nathan "N.R." Gaddis added it
Recommended to Nathan "N.R." by: Aubrey
Shelves: 2014-gelesen
This Review must be prefaced with an apology. Perhaps a warning for uncharacteristic negativity. Please, excuse this.

The Ministry of Pain is one of the worst books I’ve read since joining goodreads. What makes this situation especially difficult/painful/unfortunate is that it came with a very sturdy recommendation from the tripod of MJ-Jonathan-Aubrey. Please don’t cease the recommendations on account of this Review.

In short, I found myself constantly groaning and sighing ; lucky that there were
MJ Nicholls
A profoundly intelligent take on Serb/Croatian emigré life following the death of Yugoslav Prime Minister Josip Toto. Tanja is a teacher living in Amsterdam responsible for a Croatian literature programme, who realises her students are much more interesting than her topic.

Very fresh, witty and moving.
Nathan "N.R." Gaddis
I reread this because I was incredulous about my negative response to it. I've had middling responses to a few books otherwise highly regarded by my fellow readers so I know what that's like ; but I've never found a book so simply bad which others regard at least as competent. But, no, now I'm just incredulous about how bad this book is. Again I started groaning as soon as the cliched simile=dropping started in. But I take little pleasure in ripping a book yet another one. So I'll head off my in ...more
Nov 25, 2012 orsodimondo rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: croazia
Mi sarebbe piaciuto che Tanja, l’io narrante di questo romanzo, raccontasse ancora più a fondo i suoi studenti, gente con uno schiaffo invisibile sulla faccia, come lei fuggiti dalla Jugoslavia durante i conflitti degli anni Novanta: ma Tanja non poteva farlo, perché una volta scappata all’estero, una volta approdata ad Amsterdam, mentre il suo paese si disfaceva e smembrava e massacrava, Tanja imparava a fondo la lingua della solitudine.

Nel suo paese il pane
Dec 28, 2012 Galina rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Проблемът с напускането на родното място е сякаш изначален. Разглеждан е и описван от всевъзможни ъгли, но един от онези, най-ярко врязали се в съзнанието ми, е безкрайно интересната теория на Проп за морфологията на вълшебните приказки. Каква връзка има изследването на руския фолклорист от далечната 1928 година с романа на Дубравка Угрешич, който напомня за една толкова съвременна и близка, в чисто географски аспект, история? На пръв поглед общо няма. От друга страна обаче, традиционно ни учат ...more
John David
Dec 27, 2010 John David rated it it was amazing
Shelves: literary-fiction
From Mishima’s “The Sailor Who Fell from Grace with the Sea” to Kafka to “Winesburg, Ohio,” the themes of alienation and exile have pervaded world literature in the twentieth century so much as to almost become a cliché. The various political disintegrations in Europe of the 1980s and 1990s gave need to another wave of this type of literature, and is whence Dubravka Ugresic’s wonderful novel “The Ministry of Pain” comes. Reading it, I was reminded a lot of Kundera’s novels from the same time per ...more
Omar  Baraka
Oct 22, 2015 Omar Baraka rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
من أفضل ما قرأت في عام 2015 رواية تحمل كل معاني الغربة والحنين إلى الوطن.... مأساة يوغسلافيا والحرب الأهلية هناك.. هناك أجزاء يجب عليك أن تقف وتبكي عندها... بعد انفصال كل فئة عن الأخرى آخذة معها لغتها وكل ما تعلق بها معها - من المبكيات أن كلمة خبز في كل لغة اختلفت في حين أن كلمة موت
واحدة في كل اللغات -... أصبحت الحرب هي الزمن الجديد بالنسبة لهم.. فترة ما قبل الحرب و ما بعدها

كان يفصلنا جدار غير مرئي من الجليد، كنت في الجهة اﻷخرى"
هل من الممكن أن يقول إنه كانت لدي رغبة واحدة في تلك اللحظة،
وهي أن
موطن الألم رواية للكاتبة الكرواتية (دوبرافكا اوجاريسك)التى تعيش فى هولندا كلاجئة بعد رفضها استقلال كرواتيا عن يوغسلافيا السابقة وبعد اندلاع الحرب عام 1991 اتخذت موقفا صلبا ضد الحرب والنزعة القومية واضطرت للهجرة وهى حاصلة على العديد من الجوائز أشهرها جائزة الدولة النمساوية فى الأدب الأوربى عام 1999 .

والرواية صدرت فى سلسلة إبداعات عالمية من ترجمة وتقديم الأستاذ الدكتور محمد فرغل .وتدور حول النزوح الكبير من يوغسلافيا السابقة إلى الخارج بعد اندلاع الحروب العرقية بين مختلف مكونات الوطن من صرب وكروات
Marc Nash
Jun 26, 2012 Marc Nash rated it it was amazing
A book about exile and trying to establish your identity in a foreign land living among your own expats whose rivalries and grudges are the reason for the narrator fleeing her war-torn country in the first place. The country is Yugoslavia as it breaks up into 6 different states and these exiles find sanctuary but no peace in Holland. The book is a stunning piece of literary writing. It portrays the human soul, with crystal precision. What it means to be in pain. To be displaced. To be fragmented ...more
Ghanem Abdullah
Dec 14, 2012 Ghanem Abdullah rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
موطن الألم.
رواية دوبرافكا أوجاريسك.
ترجمة: د/محمد فرغل
مراجعة: د/ سامية دياب
اصدار المجلس الوطني للثقافة والفنون والآداب-الكويت ضمن سلسلة ابداعات عالمية- أكتوبر ٢٠١١م.

تنتمي هذه الرواية لأدب المنفى، تتناول فيه الأديبة الكرواتية "دوبرافكا" قصة مقتبسة من أحداثٍ تاريخية عاصرتها وعايشتها، امتلأت بالألم والدم.
تدور الرواية حول بعض اللاجئين الذين قدموا لهولندا بعد تفكك يوغسلافيا السابقة لعدة دول، كان اللاجئون قادمين من كرواتيا وصربيا والبوسنة وألبانيا وغيرها، وكانت تجمع بعضًا منهم إحدى الكليات التي تعني با
محمـد بــدر

" حين تكون محاصرا بين خيارين .. العودة الى هناك وتكون ميتا
, أو البقاء هنا وتكون مهزوما ! "

هذه هي اختصار حياة اللاجيء الذي ترك وطنه الذي تضربه الحروب
والفتن والصراعات ورحل الى اللامكان حيث ينتقل من مكان
لآخر باحثا عن البقاء على أمل العودة ولكن تطول الغربة وتمر
الأيام فيفضل أن ينسى.. هو الغير منتمي الى هنا أو هناك.

غربة الأصدقاء , وغربة الأهل وتفرقهم في المهجر , غربة اللغة ,
غربة النفس.. مشاعر كثيرة ومواقف لأول مرة اتعرف عليها بهذا
التدفق الشعوري عن حياة اللاجئين. حياتهم صعبة وقاسية جدا
نفسيا ق
Mind the Book
Litterärt lyxproblem; en subhög med citylittslattar har samlats i TBR:en. Romaner jag skaffat för att läsa on location i Seattle, Paris, Sanremo, Southwold (!) och Amsterdam, av abibliofobiska orsaker, eller överentusiastisk bokpackning.

The Ministry of Pain är en exillitteraturprofessors anteckningar från ett källarhål - i Amsterdam. Insiktsfullt, intelligent. Utöver Balkanhistoriken finns det mycket här för den med flanörsjäl. Se kärleksbombning på Insta.

#BOTNS-bingoruta: 'A dark, upsetting,
Jan 22, 2017 Visnja rated it liked it
I feel this book was written for "us" and translation somewhat fails it. Because of this, I give it 3 stars. I doubt any English speaker reading it would quite understand, though I do think many would see it serve as some kind of stand-in for a pathetic though not wholly untruthful introduction to and depiction of Slavic mentality and its pains- albeit much too singularly dark and angry in tone because I think our mentality is more sad than angry, more suffering than tortured, more creative than ...more
What is like to live with Yugo-nostalgia? To be drawn to others of "your own", fellow diaspora of former Yugoslavia? To never be at peace, feel at home, be completely yourself or fully recover from having your country torn from you, your memories replaced with new ones and the suffocating guilt of having gotten away?
Despite my efforts to really try and like this book, my feelings remained an unwavering lukewarm at the most. The author penned a beautiful, sad, harsh, unforgiving and above all, tr
Apr 25, 2012 Ron rated it really liked it
In a world rapidly filling with those taking refuge from political turmoil, there is a growing literature of the refugee experience. This novel (which seems more like a memoir it is so detailed in the specifics of finding asylum in another country) covers a year in the life of a young woman from Zagreb in Croatia, who has fetched up in Holland, with a university teaching job in the Slavic Languages department. Here she teaches mostly fellow emigres, from the former Yugoslavia.

The narrative devic
حنين خطاب
Dec 25, 2015 حنين خطاب rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
'''بدأ مقياس ضغط قلبك بالهبوط، وبدأت عيناك تغرورقان بالدموع

كان يفصلنا جدار غير مرئي من الجليد، كنت في الجهة اﻷخرى
هل من الممكن أن يقول إنه كانت لدي رغبة واحدة في تلك اللحظة،
وهي أن أضرب رأسي في عرض الجدار؟
احتجت إلى المساعدة. عانى قلبي من خطأ ما، ولكنني لم أستطع أن أحدد مدى خطورته.
لقد كنت بحاجة ماسة إلى ملجأ، إلى حضن ألف نفسي فيه،
إلى مكان انتظر فيه للتخلص من اﻷلم.
مكان آتي إليه، أعود فيه إلى نفسي'''

ما أشبه اليوم بلأمس....
اغلب ادبيات المنفى تتميز أنها تعيد رسم الواقع بنظرة من الماضي...لتدرك ان
Aug 24, 2012 Kaloyana rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Прочетох книгата за един ден. Надмина всичките ми очаквания, които всъщност нямах в големи количества, предвид темата. А именно - последиците в живота на обикновените хора, след войната в Югославия. Стилът и изказът на автора са на високо ниво. Угрешич пише доста чувствено, честно и открито. Умело ползва думите и ги мята като ножове насреща ни. Не може да си роден на Балканите и да не ти подейства всичко, което описва. Хареса ми това, че няма мрънкане и оплакване, няма оценка, нито политика. Има ...more
Apr 09, 2015 Mona rated it it was amazing
تقدم الرواية قصة ضياع وفقدان هوية وتناقش مواضيع إنسانية في غاية الأهمية ، تتعلق بتداعيات العيش في المنفىمن خلال النموذج اليوغسلافي وأهم هذه التداعيات هو هاجس العودة إلى الوطن ، وتطرح الكاتبة ثنائية مرعبة :فالعودة إلى الوطت تعني الموت ، في حين أن البقاء في المنفى يعني الهزيمة ، وبين هذين الخيارين تبرز قضية الأنتحار المؤرقة وأصبحت شائعة في الوطن كأحد إفرازات الحرب المأساوية مثل قولها (الأنتحار نوع من الرفاهية أثناء الحرب ، إنه مواساة يندر توافرها )

لا أتذكر متى لاحظت للمرة الأولى ، أعتدت أن أقف منت
Jan 29, 2014 verbava rated it really liked it
Shelves: campus, balkan, émigré
шкода, що так мало перекладів з неї можна знайти, – дубравка угрешич мені подобається в усіх своїх іпостасях: іронічній, інсайдерсько-літературній, публіцистичній, феміністичній, міфотворчій (чи то пак міфоперетворювальній) – і в цій новій, трохи сумній і трохи жорстокій, присутній у "міністерстві болю".
емігрантський досвід із війною за плечима (здається, балкани – це моя нова канада) – саме по собі діткливе, але вона розмотує цю тему в зовсім проникливий бік, коли "не знаходити собі місця" ста
Ghaida Alkhateeb
An amazing touching novel. I can say it is one of the stories that I did not want to end. Moving between the details, the characters, or the feelings gave me a sense of excitement. The way the writer linked the ideas was incredibly good. I love it as it really embodied my life, I spent away from my family and started to believe,regardless of some frustrations,that being far away form your hometown can be painful and even more damaging than an infectious disease. It goes in the veins and arteries ...more
Tejas Janet
Apr 22, 2013 Tejas Janet rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Croatian author and émigré Dubravka Ugrešić's novel of exile and dislocation in the aftermath of Yugoslavia's disintegration is insightful and well-written (English translation by Michael Henry Heim). Not easy to read because of the painful topography traversed, but a journey worth making for the complexity and nuance of understanding communicated in its pages. Left me reeling from the feeling of socio-cultural vertigo experienced by the émigré exiles in this genre-crossing tale. Pretty amazing ...more
Nov 12, 2013 Irena rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Tkogod je pao na opis na poleđini knjige, popušio je, da se fino izrazim.

Ok, ima malo tog kontenta. Možda kad se sve sklopi - svega dvije stranice. Sve ostalo je in your head! Tako im i treba ako su uzeli čitat' knjigu radi malo sado-mazo, seksi-šop kontenta (imate fifti šejds of spank za otog' je l')

Nakon ove knjige završila sam sa ratnom temom, temama, posljeratnim traumama, blejmom i takto.

Nemam daljih komentara, knjiga je odlična.
This book took me a long time to read, I just couldn't get into it. I didn't care for any of the characters and this just wasn't my kind of read. There were some really beautiful passages, but not enough to sustain me. It did make me realize that I have a lot to learn about the history of this area of the world.
Jun 04, 2009 Jana rated it it was amazing
Ugrešić hits my buttons. But this was one of the most emotionally heaviest books I've ever read. Even the title sounds fearsome. And it is, in a social way, but the only reason why I feel this, is because I can completely relate with this book. Not with her situation specifically, but with the exile mentality of the people from the ex Yugoslavia.
Apr 21, 2011 Cristóbal rated it it was amazing
One of the key fiction books to read in order to understand not only ex-Yu society these days, but also most countries that were hit hard by the Cold war, and its relationships with their fellow countrymen, and the ones who have left the country.
Sep 05, 2009 Lyndon rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
Ugrešić has a way of telling a story that leaves the reader a little scarred (per her protagonist) but a little wiser to the depths an ex-pat existence. As with her essays, this novel resonates with a mature wit that avoids cliche and invites patient attention.
Aug 27, 2016 Kim rated it liked it
3.5 stars, liked this one!
Salem Bn
Mar 29, 2013 Salem Bn rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
موطن الألم / Ministry of pain ! من أروع ما قرأت ...
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
500 Great Books B...: The Ministry of Pain - Dubravka Ugrešić - Aubrey 3 18 Nov 20, 2014 12:13PM  
  • On the Edge of Reason
  • April Fool's Day
  • Kiklop
  • Garden, Ashes
  • They Would Never Hurt a Fly: War Criminals on Trial in The Hague
  • Almost Dead
  • Vertical Motion
  • The Sleepwalker
  • Sarajevo Marlboro
  • Trieste
  • War & War
  • Fado
  • They Were Divided
  • Medea and Her Children
  • The First Person and Other Stories
  • Thrown into Nature
  • The Queue
  • Montecore: En unik tiger
Dubravka Ugrešić earned her degrees in Comparative Literature, Russian Language and Literature at the University of Zagreb, and worked for twenty years at the Institute for Theory of Literature at Zagreb University, successfully pursuing parallel careers as a writer and a literary scholar.

She started writing professionally with screenplays for children’s television programs, as an undergraduate. I
More about Dubravka Ugrešić...

Share This Book

“كان الأمر و كأن الحياة نفسها أصبحت عقابا لهم : فكل شئ كان يغيظهم ، كل شئ كان يغضبهم ، كل شئ كان يجرحهم ؛ فلم يكن هناك شئ كافٍ لهم ، و كل شئ تقريبا أكثر مما ينبغى” 18 likes
“في المهجر تكبر قبل الأوان ، وتبقى صغيراً إلى الأبد.” 5 likes
More quotes…