Neven Ušumović

Neven Usumovic won critical acclaim for his collections of short stories. His story "Vereš" is published in the collection "Best European Fiction 2010" (Dalkey Archive Press).


Neven Usumovic was born in 1972 in Zagreb and grew up in Subotica. Graduated in philosophy, comparative literature and Hungarian studies from the Faculty of Philosophy, University of Zagreb.

He won critical acclaim for collections of short stories: 7 mladih (1997), Makovo zrno (2009), Rajske ptice (2012), and a “short-lived novel” Ekskurzija (2001).

Translated from Hungarian the works of Béla Hamvas, Ferenc Molnár, Péter Esterházy and Ádám Bodor.

"My first literary attempts, in the late eighties, are directly related with the adolescent uncovering of the life and history of the town where I grew up – Subotica (Hungarian: Szabadka). Subotica is a town with a complex Austro-Hungarian history; today it is in Serbia, with majority of Hungarian population and a significant share of Croatian, formerly also Jewish as well as German culture; and there four writers were born who have been my constant inspiration: Géza Csáth (1887-1919), Dezső Kosztolányi (1885-1936), Danilo Kiš (1935-1989) and Radomir Konstantinović (1928-). Ravages of war in Yugoslavia during the 90's directed, in a traumatic way, my creativity towards the violent tentativeness of the national language and territory, which made my postmodernist sensibility (imbued with the poetics od Danilo Kiš or, for example, David Albahari, but at the same time intoxicated with the loud versatility of path-breakers in music such as Sonic Youth, John Zorn or Einstürzende Neubauten) both additionally politicized and in a new way oriented towards the textuality in general, but also towards a new poetics of the Pannonian area. My writing stops and goes continuosly, defying the smooth rhythm of speech, just like the language of Marina Tsvetaeva, Miloš Crnjanski or Ádám Bodor; whereas my basic poetic interest in the landscape is all but romantic: I'm interested in the consequences of industrialisation, in all the aspects of the environment destruction: from there I draw inspiration for my grotesque, symbolic scenes, looking for the point which would mean, amidst this increasingly fast globalist carneval, a point of reversal and reflexion."

see more:

 

http://www.schruf.de/usumovic.html

http://www.dalkeyarchive.com/info/?fa=text167

 




Neven Ušumović: Chikungunya (extract)

Of course he didn’t take him all the way to the Croatian border. He left him near Parecag, at a bus station. This driver didn’t say a word, he drove all to Koper in silence; all right, true, it was Monday, no one felt like talking. He only said srečno, wished him good luck, and motioned him to get out. He crossed the road and after only a few steps found the place where he could wait for another car.

Vereš

Story by Neven Ušumović
Translated by Celia Hawkesworth

The story "Vereš" is published in the collection "Best European Fiction 2010" (Dalkey Archive Press) edited by Aleksandar Hemon.

An interview with Neven Ušumović

"At the end of the 1990s, the prevailing trend in Croatian literature was neorealism: the consequences of war, the sudden impoverishment of wide sections of society, the brutality of the economic transition were foregrounded. In this decade, there is more experimentation: intermediality and crossover of genres offer particularly productive solutions for an inventive dialogue with social reality. It would please me if people outside Croatia read Robert Perišić, Zoran Ferić, Boris Dežulović and Marinko Koščec; then new writers such as Vlado Bulić and Zoran Pilić. They are characterized by harsh satire, uncompromising analysis of the social situation, and poetic inventiveness." - from dalkeyarchive.com

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