Milan/zzz's Reviews > Premeditated Murder

Premeditated Murder by Slobodan Selenić
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Apr 23, 09

bookshelves: serbian

Slobodan Selenic published the last of his six novels in 1993 in Belgrade, where he died two years later. In ’Premeditated Murder’, he spins out two strands that are both parallel and intricately intertwined. One is the story of a young woman named Jelena trying to hold her life together in Belgrade in the terrible year of 1945, “a dark era of ruination”. The second is the story of another Jelena, the granddaughter of the first, as she tries to hold her life together in Belgrade in the terrible year of 1992, in another dark era of ruination.

The younger Jelena has found a cache of letters and papers that belonged to her grandmother, who died in a sanatorium in 1950. In a city preparing for another senseless and barbaric war, she meets a wounded young soldier named Bogdan Bilogorac in a park. She names him Bonehead and takes him home to take care of him. With Bonehead's help, Jelena tries to assemble a book about her grandmother out of the “patchy, accidental trinkets” she has found, and “Premeditated Murder: The Love-Life of My Grandmother Jelena” is the result.

The first Jelena was beautiful, intelligent, educated, aristocratic, and stubborn as a bulldog. The second Jelena is plain, spottily educated, crudely outspoken; her friends call her “Bulika”, short for bull terrier, because she has that kind of loyalty, stubbornness, and guts. The two women are totally unlike each other in every superficial way, the same in everything that matters. Both women are heroic in worlds that do not recognize heroism, worlds where heroism doesn't make any difference anyway.

’Premeditated Murder’ is an amazing novel no reader will be able to forget, no matter how much he might want to - an angry, powerfully emotional, and profoundly pessimistic book.
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