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Adios, Cowboy

3.66  ·  Rating details ·  445 ratings  ·  41 reviews
A gritty, breakneck debut novel by a popular Croatian writer of the country’s “lost generation”

Dada’s life is at a standstill in Zagreb—she’s sleeping with a married man, working a dead-end job, and even the parties have started to feel exhausting. So when her sister calls her back home to help with their aging mother, she doesn’t hesitate to leave the city behind. But she
Paperback, 240 pages
Published March 1st 2016 by McSweeney's (first published 2010)
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3.66  · 
Rating details
 ·  445 ratings  ·  41 reviews

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In summer 2009, Dada (aka Rusty) returns to her Croatian hometown to care for her mother, who, her sister reports, has become increasingly dependent on Valium, sleeping pills and alcohol. Back in Zagreb she’d been working as a photographer for a website that rips off other people’s stories and sleeping with someone else’s husband. Going home means abandoning that secondhand life and facing up to the fact of her brother’s death – when he was 18 he threw himself under a train. “One has to sit down ...more
Dec 11, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Dada has grown up in a small town in Croatia from which she escaped as soon a she could at the age of eighteen. But she is drawn back to this bizarre town by the horrible suicide of her younger brother, Daniel. The book is told from Dada’s point of view and we are given information about her life and hometown as Dada remembers it. She speaks of memory being like a tape that “rolls forward and backwards. Fw-stop-rew-stop-rec-play-stop, it stops at important places, some images flicker dimly froze ...more
Vatroslav Herceg
Jan 30, 2017 rated it liked it
Zagreb, 2010.
Knjiga je podijeljena na tri dijela; 1. "Eastern", 2."Western" te 3."Adio".
Jezik je iznimno aktualizirajući. Razigran, maštovit, otkačen u tom smislu posjeduje marinkovićevsku energiju. Tekst vrvi neologizmima, regionalizmima te majstorski izvedenim urbanim vernakularom. Čest je krnji infinitiv koji doprinosi vernakularnosti i opuštenosti u tekstu. Sljedeći primjeri vernakulara; "Zaspala bi pred upaljenim teveom...", "Danijel se poslije smije, kaže- Šta vam je, samo sam se
Aug 18, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Едно момче се е самоубило на 18, няколко години по-късно сестра му се връща в нажеженото до червено тяхно градче при полудяващата им майка, за да се опита да си отговори на някои въпроси.

Книгата е в три части: основна, кратко разяснение и пришит завършек - всяка е в различен тон и донякъде от различна гледна точка и докато втората ми идва малко прекалено обяснителна, третата намирам за направо досадно излишна.

Докато четях основната част, бях много доволна от умението на авторката да пише обигран
Joseph Schreiber
A deeply personal piece of unfinished business draws Dada, the spirited heroine of Farewell, Cowboy, from the towers of Zagreb, back to the grimy streets of her hometown on the shores of the Adriatic in this debut novel from Croatian poet and writer Olja Savičević. Once she arrives her first task is to relieve her older sister of the responsibility of keeping track of their mother who seems to be surviving on a routine of pharmaceuticals, soap operas and bi-weekly treks to the cemetery to visit ...more
Jul 16, 2016 rated it did not like it
Honestly, I am blown away by the 3.79 grading that this book is receiving. Although Savicevic uses an abundance of words she never says anything. I could not tell you one thing that happened in this book. It was as if some very unremarkable person with an equally unremarkable life, pocket-dialed you and left a voicemail that was equivalent to 200+ pages. It felt like torture slogging through this.

I don't think I could convey how much I disliked this book. Just terrible. Awesome cover artwork, t
Marina Sofia
May 02, 2016 rated it liked it
An interesting, no-holds-barred and at times almost unbearably sad portrayal of the generation most affected by the war in Yugoslavia and trying to make a life after and in spite of it all. Yet, unexpectedly, the language and insights are not high-flown and dramatic, but rendered with a clear-eyed, almost cynical and mocking tone of a younger generation.
Oct 29, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One sister's poetic and sometimes less poetic search for the meaning of her brother's intentional death - suicide.Voyage through the other side of the touristic mediterranean coastal town, through the places more distanced from the sea, but closer to the hills, stones, sidewalks, ground.
In Vaarwel, cowboy ligt niets er te dik bovenop. Het is niet dat Olja Savičević te schaars met woorden is, maar ze besteedt ze in elk geval niet aan leed. Ze weigert om sentiment aan te wakkeren, en om te verdwalen in de psyches van haar personages. Misschien doet ze dat omdat er teveel bronnen van leed zijn in Vaarwel, cowboy. Het hoofdpersonage Dada keert terug naar haar wijk in Split, die de ravage van de oorlog in de jaren '90 nooit echt te boven is gekomen. Ze beschrijft het als een trooste ...more
Feb 18, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: preso-in-biblio
Una voce giovane nel coro degli scrittori balcanici che non lascia indifferenti. La vicenda narrata è tragica, una ragazza che ritorna nel paese natale per assistere la mamma malata e ci ritorna dopo aver vissuto la tragedia di un fratello morto suicida. Un ritorno catartico quindi, scoprirà cose nuove sulla morte del fratello, farà pace con la sua voglia di vendetta e conoscerà meglio le persone che in gioventù aveva giudicato male.
Scrittura ricca di salti temporali e ritmata.
Jake Goretzki
Aug 12, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015
An odd, rather patchworky little novel - part Dalmatian coming of age, then a peculiar switch to Ned Montgomery filming a cowboy film (or maybe I was too distracted this week).

Some fine observations of Balkan living and neighbourhood life (I love the line about their fathers being 'men with heart attacks in their chests'). Pretty seamless translation from SSEES legend Celia Hawksworth - give or take a few oddities (not sure about her use of the Geordie-or-Belfast-sounding 'yous').

The pull quot
J.J. Amaworo
Aug 10, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Set in a dreary town on the Adriatic coast, the novel follows the heroine Dada as she tries to find out why her younger and much-loved brother Daniel threw himself under a train a few years earlier.

The tone of disillusionment and decay shrouds the book like a fog hanging over a sea: the country is recovering from the Balkan Wars of the 1990s; Dada is listless after a relationship breakdown; and her family is struggling to live with the trauma of Daniel’s death.

The “plot" comes a distant second t
Richard Wu
Jul 04, 2016 rated it it was ok
I picked this up after reading an excerpt from the McSweeney's website, and because it had an interesting title.

I'm not quite sure if anything happens in this book. Though Savičević uses many words, she conveys little. The characters are flat, archetypal, forgettable; whatever semblance of plot feels forced. Reading this sapped my energy - imagine the mental fog that accompanies getting out of bed in the morning, or wandering around in a literal fog and having no idea which direction is which. I
Nov 10, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Ovo je posebna knjiga, dosta različita od onog što sam čitao u našoj produkciji. Mislim da se neće svidjeti onima koje vole Dana Browna i sličnu literaturu, kao ni onima koji vole čitati Tomića (bez da podcjenjujem). Evo kritike:
May 20, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
oronuli ostaci djetinjstva, doma, obitelji i života jedne propale studentice, dio su sjajno ispričane štorije o mraku naših života i vremena u kojem živimo.
Tony Matthews
Sep 22, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Read this on holiday in Croatia. Very good, personal story.
Katie Sue
Feb 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Hilarious, yet tragic. A literary thrill about home, journeys, and the definition of an individual.
Dejan Prćić
Oct 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"nista ne radim samo trulim doma i gledam dokumentarce na national geografic. potresi poplave to ne volim gledat plimni val i slična katastrofična sranja. neki kažu e neka tako ljudima i triba kad su oholi da ih stavi na njihovo misto. ka da oni nisu ljudi jeba ga patak ka da su oni neki bolji ljudi šta ne pipsaju sprej po ozonu ili su možda neki hiper moralna čeljad. a nakraju uvik najebe najveća sirotinja u tim tornadima i tajfunima i potresima tu nema pravde. te pravde toga ima samo na filmu. ...more
Farewell, Goodbye sees the main character Dada return to her family home in Croatia to see her sister and her mother and on a search for the truth of why her brother had died. Also returning to the village is the vet who lived next door to which her brother Daniel had died. The cowboy in the detail being a reference to her brothers like of western movies along with their predeceased father who died at a young age, a film lover who worked first in the cinema then at a video shop.

As a crossover to
Ronan Mcdonnell
Sep 24, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A powerful, moving but curious book.
Everything is fractured, broken and split(!) apart. The reasons behind the suicide, the town in which it is set, the purpose of any character's actions, the narrative and order. Everything jumps in and out of focus, and nothing is ever quite right.
And this is a fitting way to tell a story set in a town so forgotten, so depressed, that it holds its own back; the only way to leave it, let alone have a chance to succeed, is to leave. But the town draws the narra
Mark Ludmon
An intriguing insight into the lives of people living in a dusty town on the outskirts of Split in the aftermath of the Yugoslav War. It is told through a young woman returning to her home town to find out more about the death of her brother. Fragmentary and poetic, it sometimes loses focus but it is full of memorable scenes and details.
Ester Elbert
Nov 28, 2017 rated it liked it
Full of beautiful sentences but the constant change of prospective and time threw me off. I understand that memories come and go randomly but this was too much and confusing.
Also it felt like I was reading of nothing. Nothing major happened, nor big discoveries were made.
I liked learning about croatian way of life and culture though....
Sep 07, 2017 rated it liked it
Recommended by a friend, I found Adios, Cowboy to be well written with a melancholic edge. The language, at times verges on the fantastic. I enjoyed the book, even though at times the seemingly off tangent description pulled us away from the main narrative.
Mar 04, 2018 rated it it was ok
The writing itself was beautiful, with sharp and poignant sentences, but the combination of those sentences didn’t create a story for me. Actually, I don’t think I even know what happened. Like, at all. Serious, what’s this book about?
Oct 26, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Samo mi se sviđa što spominje tu splitsku prašinu. Mnogima promaknu cementare u Dalmaciji. Ostalo-osrednje.
Filip Grujic
Oct 06, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Izuzetno napisana poetskim jezikom, četvorka isključivo zbog poslednjih par stranica koje uništavaju maštovito vođenu priču o izgubljenim iluzijama.
Britt-marie Ingdén-Ringselle
Tyvärr grep den inte riktigt tag i mig, kanske för att den var lite rörig och splittrad.
Jun 18, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Jag har skrivit en recension på min blogg:
I gave it 2.5 stars.

I loved the Chernobyl joke the mother tells: "[a] woman… gave birth to one child with three fathers."
[Is this a novel or a memoir?]

The narrator's brother has died; there was "an incident" involving many of the local boys, including the brother, at the veterinarian's home, after which the vet left town, presumable far away. After which, all the boys involved found death in diverse, non-suspicious ways. (This has all happened before the narrative.)

The town graffiti was very int
Jaimie Lau
Dec 01, 2016 rated it liked it
Enjoyable but definitely not for the main character, Dada. She did seem to have a clear direction as a character and her motivations were not apparent. Whether her reason for returning was investigating what happened to her brother or to take care of her mother, neither of these are in the forefront of her mind and it becomes easy for the reader to lose connection with her during the book. The tone of the book is on the depressive side and it is only towards the end when the reader is released f ...more
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Writes poetry, prose, columns. Author of several poetry collections and books.

Lives in Split, Croatia.
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“I was born during the reign of now forgotten technical appliances, those transitional forms that didn't survive although it seemed that their epoch would last forever. Who'd have thought something as modern and contemporary as a cassette player would so quickly and definitively end up in a museum? a video-recorder, a Walkman, a floppy disk, telephone boxes, telephone answer-machines... who still uses any of those things? In fact it's easier to find someone who plays gramophone records or someone who writes letters and sends them by post, just as there are still people who go to the cinema and film libraries. But finding someone who watches videos or has a telephone answer-machine, who walks around with a Walkman or files data on floppy disks, doesn't seem possible, ever less so, even theoretically.” 0 likes
“It's absolutely true that you'll get by more easily today with cuneiform script and a clay tablet than with a floppy disk in your pocket.” 0 likes
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