Faruk Šehić: excerpt from 'Quiet Flows The Una'

EU Prize for Literature winner (2013), Faruk Šehić, was born in 1970 in Bihac. Until the war broke out in 1992, Šehić studied Veterinary Medicine in Zagreb. However, the then 22-year-old voluntarily joined the army of Bosnia and Herzegovina, in which he led a unit of 130 men as a lieutenant. Literary critics regard him as one of the most gifted young writers in the former Yugoslavia, as a shining light of the so-called 'knocked-over generation'. His books have been translated into English, German, Bulgarian, French and Macedonian. His debut novel „Knjiga o Uni“ (Quiet Flows The Una) was awarded the Meša Selimović prize for the best novel published in Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro and Croatia in 2011, and the European Union Prize for Literature 2013. He works for the magazine BH Dani as a columnist and journalist.


Night-time Journey


If it rains on the eve of Friday, the rain will fall for seven days, Grandmother Emina always used to tell us. And rain covered our sky with the force of the ayahs from the sura Al-Qari’ah (The Calamity).

I dreamed that the water surrounded us on all sides, and my Grandmother’s house set out on its first voyage. Before we became Una-farers there was a mighty crash as the house tore loose from its earthly roots. Thus relieved of its foundations containing remnants of bomb casings and stabilizers from the Second World War, detached from the stones of the former house that burned down when the Allies bombed the town, and freed from the fluvial tufa at its base, the house prepared for the worst: a journey into the unknown.

The fleet-footed ones who weren’t caught unawares by the water, like we were, climbed up to Ravnik on the very top of Hum Hill, where they hoped the sun would finally break through the clouds and stop the deluge. Those of us who had little choice and didn’t want the freak weather to decide things for us took fate into our own hands.

Miraculously, the cellar retracted into the house and became our machine room with red pressure gauges and small, round wheels for steering in those precarious floodwaters. The valves of the gauges flipped up from time to time to let off angry steam whenever the engines ran hot. The grapevine uncoiled from my Grandmother’s house and became a sail of leaves, in case other forms of propulsion failed. We tore through the deck with the help of a crowbar and I took up the metal steering wheels. My Grandmother stood at the kitchen window together with Uncle Šeta, who had served in the Yugoslav navy. The house had become a vessel and the kitchen was now the bridge, with my Grandmother as captain, holding her string of prayer beads. The amber beads circled in their silent universe. Šeta held a harpoon at the ready in case he spotted a giant pike. Water sprayed in our faces and surged towards the kitchen, but that didn’t diminish our mariners’ resolve.

We floated on down the Unadžik straight towards Pilanica, and all the way to the confluences, whose sandy beds always harboured barbels and sneeps. Here the Unadžik flowed into the Krušnica and the two waters came together. The Krušnica stayed close to the right-hand bank, so the water was colder, while the Una took in the left-hand side of the fraternal stream. When the river was low during the summer, shaggy bullrushes would float in the middle of the current, and their flowers looked like the eyes of timid, pygmean hydro-beings. I tried casting a brass spoon lure made for use in turbid water through the cellar window, while closely monitoring the manometers with their red needles and following the course given by my grandmother. Skilfully, we steered clear of the thick, opaque layers of tufa that the water flowed over.

‘Hard left!’ my Grandmother yelled, and I would take the rudder and turn it until the house responded to the desired manoeuvre.

We were never in any great danger on our voyage, not even from the giant waves that collided with each other, forming formidable water giants. I recalled Nostradamus’s verses about the end of the world:

At the forty-eighth degree climacteric

Fish in sea, river, lake, boiled hectic.

The river-side houses in Pazardžik had long disappeared from view and we passed down through the crests of the Pilanica cascades into the newly formed lake, which stretched all the way to the school and threatened to inundate the first houses on the grassy slopes at the rear of Hum Hill. Although it was the time of the year for floods, no one had seen one of this magnitude, at least not in my Grandmother’s lifetime. Now we began to glide down the arm of the Una and the main current of the Krušnica, whose combined force submerged the long islands and everything on them for miles around. The crossbars at FC Meteor’s stadium and the football pitch of its lower-division brother, FC Željezničar, jutted out of the lake showing just a foot or two of post. Mute, dirty water besieged the stadium’s western grandstand. The bloated carcass of a cow hung in a goal net. Three hours from where we’d started, the water was trying to reduce Točile Hill by climbing higher than the crowns of the powerless trees. Birds’ nests were swallowed up everywhere. Fish never seen in the daylight emerged from the depths, with ungainly bodies and heads so much like people’s that some of them could talk.

One with tin scales called out to me in astonishment, gazing past my Grandmother’s house at the clouds drifting above Točile: ‘The first angel sounded his trumpet, and there came hail and fire mixed with blood....’ Quick to interrupt it, I replied through the porthole of my machine cabin: ‘and it was hurled down upon the earth. A third of the earth was burned up, a third of the trees burned up and all the green grass.’ Upon which the fish withdrew into the silty depths, slapping the water’s surface with its heavy tail. The look in its eyes was terrible—older than time. I thought I caught a glimpse of the Monster from the Juice Warehouse riding in a giant freshwater mussel and carefully noting everything that happened. Weariness was taking hold and it was impossible to ward off dismal thoughts.

At the forty-eighth degree climacteric

Fish in sea, river, lake, boiled hectic.

At that point the dream was cut as if by the blade of a Solingen knife and I woke up breathless in my Grandmother’s guest room under the massive quilt. The beating of the clock’s mechanism on the wall above me lent a Gothic note to the sleeping darkness. The house was still on dry land and the Unadžik back in its suit, which had not become too narrow for it. The water was content and travelled tirelessly on towards the confluences to mix with the Krušnica’s cold flood. I resolved to get up and go down to the cellar to check the red needles of the two metal water gauges, whose position and number showed the water consumption of my Grandmother’s house.

I got out of bed at dawn and went into the corridor. Water was trickling down the coat-rack mirror on the left near the front door and the carpet in the corridor was soaking wet. The thick coats of white paint on the walls had cracked in places as if the house had been hit by an earthquake. Now I realized that my grandmother’s house moved about secretly at night, nudged through the water with the furtive aid of aquatic protozoa and their cilia; its nightly progress could be expressed in centimetres, for the time being. Cilia are the tiny flagella of certain water-borne organisms, a substitute for legs. The house wanted to move to another, more stable neighbourhood, far from the wild river in my dreams and out of reach of floods and other disasters, to somewhere it could live to a ripe old age. It should be a town with better inhabitants — Peter Pan, Hansel and Gretel. But the house was naive, just like those whose hands built it. In the spring of 1992, the house thought it would be spared because it had never caused anyone any harm. All the other houses around it were blazing yellow torches on children’s drawings. It made believe that there was such a glare all around because the stars had come out early in the sky. It pretended the other houses were not fiery suns that collapsed back upon their inner infernos. Its mind withdrew to the very highest point of the attic, where it cowered and shuddered like a freezing owl.

But all that the house had at its disposal were the cilia and the river, whose murmur would conceal its escape. Time flowed inexorably, and it wasn’t on the house’s side. The house prepared to betray its destiny, which has been repeated with horrifying precision every fifty years — that it be reduced to ash. Needless to say, its flight never succeeds.



                                                                               Translated by Will Firth

o nama

Natječaj ''Sedmica & Kritična masa'' - uži izbor

Nakon šireg izbora slijedi uži izbor nagrade ''Sedmica & Kritična masa'' za mlade prozne autore. Pročitajte tko su sedmero odabranih.


Hana Kunić: Vidjela sam to


Hana Kunić (Varaždin, 1994.) završila je varaždinsku Prvu gimnaziju nakon koje upisuje studij Glume i lutkarstva na Akademiji za umjetnost i kulturu u Osijeku, gdje je magistrirala 2017. godine. Kao Erasmus+ studentica studirala je Glumu i na Faculty of Theatre and Television u Cluj-Napoci u Rumunjskoj. Glumica je pretežno na kazališnim (HNK Varaždin, Kazalište Mala scena Zagreb, Umjetnička organizacija VRUM, Kazalište Lutonjica Toporko), a povremeno i na filmskim i radijskim projektima. Kao dramska pedagoginja djeluje u Kazališnom studiju mladih varaždinskog HNK i u romskom naselju Kuršanec u sklopu projekta Studija Pangolin. Pisanjem se bavi od osnovne škole – sudjelovala je na državnim natjecanjima LiDraNo (2010. i 2012.), izdala je zbirku poezije „Rika“ (2018.), njena prva drama „Plavo i veliko“ izvedena je na Radiju Sova (2019.), a njen prvi dječji dramski tekst „Ah, ta lektira, ne da mi mira“ postavljen je na scenu lutkarskog Kazališta Lutonjica Toporko (2021.). Suosnivačica je Umjetničke organizacije Favela. Živi u Zagrebu, puno se sunča i alergična je na banalnost.


Saša Vengust: Loša kob


Saša Vengust (Zagreb, 1988.) završio je školovanje kao maturant II. opće gimnazije. Nakon toga je naizmjence malo radio u videoteci, malo brljao na Filozofskom fakultetu po studijima filozofije, sociologije i komparativne književnosti. U naglom i iznenadnom preokretu, zaposlio se u Hladnjači i veletržnici Zagreb kao komercijalist u veleprodaji voća i povrća. Trenutačno traži posao, preuređuje kuću, savladava 3D printanje, boja minijature, uveseljava suprugu i ostale ukućane sviranjem električne gitare te redovito ide na pub kvizove da se malo makne iz kuće.


Sheila Heti: Majčinstvo

Sheila Heti (1976.) jedna je od najistaknutijih kanadskih autorica svoje generacije. Studirala je dramsko pisanje, povijest umjetnosti i filozofiju. Piše romane, kratke priče, dramske tekstove i knjige za djecu. U brojnim utjecajnim medijima objavljuje književne kritike i intervjue s piscima i umjetnicima. Bestseleri How Should a Person Be? i Women in Clothes priskrbili su joj status književne zvijezde. New York Times uvrstio ju je na popis najutjecajnijih svjetskih književnica koje će odrediti način pisanja i čitanja knjiga u 21. stoljeću, a roman Majčinstvo našao se na njihovoj ljestvici najboljih knjiga 2018. godine. Hvalospjevima su se pridružili i časopisi New Yorker, Times Literary Supplement, Chicago Tribune, Vulture, Financial Times i mnogih drugi koji su je proglasili knjigom godine. Majčinstvo je tako ubrzo nakon objavljivanja postao kultni roman. Sheila Heti živi u Torontu, a njezina su djela prevedena na više od dvadeset jezika.


Selma Asotić: Izbor iz poezije

Selma Asotić je pjesnikinja. Završila je magistarski studij iz poezije na sveučilištu Boston University 2019. godine. Dobitnica je stipendije Robert Pinsky Global Fellowship i druge nagrade na književnom natječaju Brett Elizabeth Jenkins Poetry Prize. Nominirana je za nagradu Puschcart za pjesmu ''Nana'', a 2021. uvrštena je među polufinaliste/kinje nagrade 92Y Discovery Poetry Prize. Pjesme i eseje na engleskom i bhsc jeziku objavljivala je u domaćim i međunarodnim književnim časopisima.


Ines Kosturin: Izbor iz poezije

Ines Kosturin (1990., Zagreb) rodom je iz Petrinje, gdje pohađa osnovnu i srednju školu (smjer opća gimnazija). Nakon toga u istom gradu upisuje Učiteljski fakultet, gdje je i diplomirala 2015. godine te stekla zvanje magistre primarnog obrazovanja. Pisanjem se bavi od mladosti, a 2014. izdaje svoju prvu samostalnu zbirku poezije, ''Papirno more''. Krajem 2020. izdaje drugu samostalnu zbirku poezije, ''Herbarij''. Pjesme objavljuje kako u domaćim, tako i u internacionalnim (regionalno i šire) zbornicima i časopisima. Na međunarodnom natječaju Concorso internazionale di poesia e teatro Castello di Duino 2018. osvaja treću nagradu. Poeziju uglavnom piše na hrvatskom i engleskom jeziku.


Luka Ivković: Sat

Luka Ivković (1999., Šibenik) je student agroekologije na Agronomskom fakultetu u Zagrebu. Do sada je objavljivao u časopisu Kvaka, Kritična masa, Strane, ušao u širi izbor za Prozak 2018., uvršten u zbornik Rukopisi 43.


Bojana Guberac: Izbor iz poezije

Bojana Guberac (1991., Vukovar) odrasla je na Sušaku u Rijeci, a trenutno živi u Zagrebu. U svijet novinarstva ulazi kao kolumnistica za Kvarner News, a radijske korake započinje na Radio Sovi. Radila je kao novinarka na Radio Rijeci, u Novom listu, na Kanalu Ri te Ri portalu. Trenutno radi kao slobodna novinarka te piše za portale Lupiga, CroL te Žene i mediji. Piše pjesme od osnovne škole, ali o poeziji ozbiljnije promišlja od 2014. godine kada je pohađala radionice poezije CeKaPe-a s Julijanom Plenčom i Andreom Žicom Paskučijem pod mentorstvom pjesnikinje Kristine Posilović. 2015. godine imala je prvu samostalnu izložbu poezije o kojoj Posilović piše: ''Primarni zadatak vizualne poezije jest da poeziju učini vidljivom, tj. da probudi kod primatelja svijest o jeziku kao materiji koja se može oblikovati. Stoga Guberac pred primatelje postavlja zahtjevan zadatak, a taj je da pokušaju pjesmu obuhvatiti sa svih strana u prostoru, da ju pokušaju doživjeti kao objekt. Mada pjesnički tekst u ovom slučaju primamo vizualno, materijal te poezije je dalje jezik.'' Njezine pjesme objavljivane su u časopisima, a ove godine njezina je poezija predstavljena na Vrisku – riječkom festivalu autora i sajmu knjiga.


Iva Sopka: Plišane lisice

Iva Sopka (1987., Vrbas) objavila je više kratkih priča od kojih su najznačajnije objavljene u izboru za književnu nagradu Večernjeg lista “Ranko Marinković” 2011. godine, Zarezovog i Algoritmovog književnog natječaja Prozak 2015. godine, nagrade “Sedmica & Kritična Masa” 2016., 2017. i 2019. godine, natječaja za kratku priču Gradske knjižnice Samobor 2016. godine te natječaja za kratku priču 2016. godine Broda knjižare – broda kulture. Osvojila je drugo mjesto na KSET-ovom natječaju za kratku priču 2015. godine, a kratka priča joj je odabrana među najboljima povodom Mjeseca hrvatske knjige u izboru za književni natječaj KRONOmetaFORA 2019. godine. Kao dopisni član je pohađala radionicu kritičkog čitanja i kreativnog pisanja "Pisaće mašine" pod vodstvom Mime Juračak i Natalije Miletić. Dobitnica je posebnog priznanja 2019. godine žirija nagrade "Sedmica & Kritična masa" za 3. uvrštenje u uži izbor.


Ivana Caktaš: Život u roku

Ivana Caktaš (1994., Split) diplomirala je hrvatski jezik i književnost 2018. godine s temom „Semantika čudovišnog tijela u spekulativnoj fikciji“. Tijekom studiranja je volontirala u Književnoj udruzi Ludens, gdje je sudjelovala u različitim jezikoslovnim i književnim događajima. Odradila je stručno osposobljavanje u osnovnoj školi i trenutno povremeno radi kao zamjena. U Splitu pohađa Školu za crtanje i slikanje pod vodstvom akademskih slikara Marina Baučića i Ivana Svaguše. U slobodno vrijeme piše, crta, slika i volontira.


Marija Skočibušić: Izbor iz poezije

Marija Skočibušić rođena je 2003. godine u Karlovcu gdje trenutno i pohađa gimnaziju. Sudjeluje na srednjoškolskim literarnim natječajima, a njezina poezija uvrštena je u zbornike Poezitiva i Rukopisi 42. Također je objavljena u časopisima Poezija i Libartes, na internetskom portalu Strane te blogu Pjesnikinja petkom. Sudjelovala je na književnoj tribini Učitavanje u Booksi, a svoju je poeziju čitala na osmom izdanju festivala Stih u regiji.


Philippe Lançon: Zakrpan

Philippe Lançon (1963.) novinar je, pisac i književni kritičar. Piše za francuske novine Libération i satirički časopis Charlie Hebdo. Preživio je napad na redakciju časopisa te 2018. objavio knjigu Zakrpan za koju je dobio niz nagrada, među kojima se ističu Nagrada za najbolju knjigu časopisa Lire 2018., Nagrada Femina, Nagrada Roger-Caillois, posebno priznanje žirija Nagrade Renaudot. Knjiga je prevedena na brojne jezike te od čitatelja i kritike hvaljena kao univerzalno remek-djelo, knjiga koja se svojom humanošću opire svakom nasilju i barbarizmu.

Stranice autora

Književna Republika Relations PRAVOnaPROFESIJU LitLink mk zg