Born into a Roma family in 1960s’ Yugoslavia, Janek Hudorovec has grown up with a terrible secret. Given the opportunity to ‘make something of himself’, he abandons the familiar wild and tactile world of nature and enters the controlled, rational life of university and the city. Here Janek proves himself to be not a conscious rebel but a spontaneous one; under the influences of impulses he cannot control. While his teachers try to understand and categorize him, it is only his fellow student, Daria, who seems able to provide a rational insight into the causes of his behaviour and offer him true affection. Yet the battle that Janek must fight with his past leads him back to the gypsy village, and a terrible denouement. This tragic story of self-punishment explores the idea that man and nature, if they are to survive, together and separately, must forever remain in conflict. Flisar’s ability to describe Janek’s inner states through juxtaposition with the outer world create a mesmerizing claustrophobia, as the reader is pulled inexorably into the nightmarish world of a man in anguish. A Swarm of Dust is widely considered to be one of Flisar’s finest works of fiction, questioning the very notion of objective truth and subverting the norms of Judeo-Christian morality.
My Father’s Dreams: A Tale of Innocence Abused, is a controversial and shocking novel by Slovenia’s bestselling author Evald Flisar, and is regarded by many critics as his best. The book tells the story of fourteen-year-old Adam, the only son of a village doctor and his rather estranged wife, living in apparent rural harmony. But this is a topsy-turvy world of illusions and hopes, in which the author plays with the function of dreaming and story-telling. The story reveals an insidious deception, in which the unsuspecting son and his mother are the apparent victims; and yet who can tell whether the gruesome ending is reality or just another dream…. ‘My Father’s Dreams’ can be read as an off-beat crime story, a psychological horror tale, a dream-like morality fable, or as a dark and ironic account of one man’s belief that his personality and his actions are two different things. It can also be read as a story about a boy who has been robbed of his childhood in the cruelest way. It is a book which has the force of myth: revealing the fundamentals without drawing any particular attention to them. It tells a story about good and evil, and our inclination to be drawn to the latter.