Hidden Camera by Zoran Zivkovic

Source – Library

Translator Alice-copple Toskic

Zoran Zivkovic is a Serbian writer ,he qualified in literary theory from Belgrade university ,soon after started publishing stories in magazines ,then in the mid 1980’s set up Yugoslavia’s first private publishing house Polaris ,he has present TV programmes on sci-fi in his homeland.and wrote a two volume encyclopaedia about sci-fi as well .he has published twenty books over the last thirty years .

Hidden camera was published in 2003 ,it focus on an unnamed undertaker ,this man is a bit OCD with a highly ordered life a neat flat and life .So one day a letter drops on his floor his is invited to a film premier ,so he debates whether to go to this mysterious film ,in the end decides to and is shocked to discover that he himself is the star of this film shot of him sat on a park bench like he does every day ,slightly dismayed he goes on with his every day life ,next he is in a bookshop and finds a book on his life after another invitation .This makes him think he is an unwitting star of a tv show ,so he starts to wonder what he does and who is real and who has been placed in for   him to interact with .This leads into a confusing life for the once perfect life of the undertaker .

The scene finally came to life again ,The figure of a small middle-aged man appeared from the right ,He was wearing a dark suit, white shirt, and black tie ,He also moved in slow motion,but unlike the women with the dog his steps were some what awkward ,almost grotesque .He went up to the bench ,sat at the end next to the streetlights , took off his jacket and draped it across the back of the bench ,Then he opened he book he had brought and settled down to read ,Sitting there without moving ,He appeared fused with the bench.

I watched for a good half minute before the realization finally hit me like a flash .

The undertaker realizes he is the star of the film he has been invited too .

Now I like this book it has classic touches an unnamed narrator remind me of Kafka ,in fact a lot of the early part of the book did a man thrown into a surreal world not knowing how he got there ,the undertakers conclusion that he was on a reality TV show shows how powerful this type of tv has become in some people’s lives and thew fact we could all be unwitting stars in a tv show .Zoran makes you wonder on the boundaries of what is real or not ,like the Film the Truman show it doesn’t take a lot for your life to unwind when you find out you’re a unwitting star of the show .I’m sure this is also some comment on the past communist society where as we see in films like the lives of others every one was watching one another .You are left with a sense of who too trust , Alice Toskic did a great job on the translation . this book is part of Dalkey archives eastern European literature series .

July 2011


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