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May 19, 2010

A prophecy from 1981

Dubravka Ugresic: Steffi Speck in the Jaws of Life
It's like a pattern. The narrator (aka the author) writes down in the head of the chapter, what kind of tasks she has and she uses the usual phrases of tailoring. She says several times, her book is like a patchwork. (Patchwork is sometimes the synonym of the postmodern texts in the literary criticism.)

Steffi Speck in the Jaws of Life was published in 1981 in Zagreb. It's sometimes like a parody for Bridget Jones and co. The starting point: the author was told, she has to write a "female novel". Her mother, her frieds, her hairdresser tell her, she has to write one. Ok, but what kind of character her heroine should be? A 18 years old girl? A 22 years old divorced mother of 3? No, a 25 years old single living with her aunt.

Steffi Speck {Stefica Cvek originally) is the typically single, who doesn't know, why she doesn't feel good in her life, till her girlfriends tell her, she has to find a partner, a man, a lover, a husband. So the story is about finding "Mr. Big", the great love. There is a lot of typically things in this book, for example the girlfriends, 3 young women, who always want to know better, what is good for Stefica. The 3 dates of Stefica, 3 different types of men. And of course it's typically too, that after the dates and after the girlfriends good advises she is more unhappy than before.

And one day she meets the man was made for her. And? Happy end? Maybe, but the publisher of the author says, it's too short, this story should be a bit longer. The author asks her mother and the girlfriends of her mother what she should do with Stefica after her marriage, but history repeats itself, the mother of the author and her girlfriends make everything more difficult instead of helping, furthermore, they are starting to chat about women nothings, like who is the sexiest actor etc, so the author thinks this book is a big fiasco, and even, actually she wanted to write a more serious book about women life, but with this theme it doesn't work really.

Dubravka Ugresic's book is like a prophecy for me about the typical stories of single women, written in a funny form.

***
I wrote some weeks ago, there isn't any English translation of this book. It was a mistake, because there is one. I think it's a good news finally.

2 megjegyzés:

Marie said...

I'm glad to hear there's an English translation- this sounds great!

Anni said...

Yep, as I know, among other stories by Ugresic in the book: "In the Jaws of Life."

 
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