John David's Reviews > A Tomb for Boris Davidovich

A Tomb for Boris Davidovich by Danilo Kiš
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Mar 19, 11

bookshelves: literary-fiction
Read in March, 2011

Danilo Kis is someone whom I have wanted to read ever since I heard Susan Sontag share her admiration for him in an interview several years ago. This novel, really a collection of short stories whose characters are thematically interwoven over space and time, details a series of lives as they encounter revolutionary movements, and how those revolutions eat their own children. Being a Yugoslav, Kis’ primary interest might have been the Soviet occupation of Eastern Europe, but the story set in the fourteenth-century shows the universality of Kis’ concern. Regardless of setting, each of the stories is set against a mental landscape of prisons and human abattoirs where suffering and horror are par for the course. Kis uses a lyrical, detached style which softens and distances itself from the horror we know is occurring, creating a kind of “litterature verite,” full of horrible whimsy, making the stories irresistible to read.

He is deserving of a bigger audience in both Europe and the United States.
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