The Coming by Andrej Nikolaidis

The coming by Andrej Nikolaidis

Montenegrin fiction

Translator Will Firth

The first chapter of this book was featured in this years best european fiction Andrej Nikolaidis is a rising star of central european fiction born to a half greek family he spent his youth in between his current homeland and Bosnia and you can see the effect on his book ,he won the Montenegrin section of the european literature prize last year and has so far publish three novels .He is well-known for speaking his mind in his Native country on a number of subjects mostly to do with Serbia thou  and has work closely at times with the new government in Montenegro .He is also married to a famous poet from the region .

As soon as I opened my agency ,though it seems all of Ulcnj decided to start killing ,robbing ,abducting and raping .And there was plenty of adultery too it seems to be close to a dozen marriages torn apart .

Is the detective just describe the town or what happened in the areas in  a wider sense .

SO the coming is An.drej first book to reach us in english what is about well like all good central european fiction it is about a lot more than it seems on the surface .For on  the surface it could be view as a crime novel  but also cynical and comic with a touch of the historic novel and some epistolary touches as he likes to use emails . The story starts when someone dies and the local library burns and   a father the town’s sheriff of Ulnjc  starts to investigate as he does so his son appears he has been in Austria .Then we have a second story line of Fra Dolcino a heretic born in the late 1200’s that announces the return of the messiah hence the title of this book and the manuscript by Fra Dolcino call the” the book of the coming” .Add in a third strand of strange things happening in the local environment and you have just scratched the surface of this book .This book even has it own soundtrack at the back of the book to listen to as you read I knew most of the tracks but enjoyed listening to the non english artists on the list that I didn’t know but I liked Andrej taste in music as a huge fan of Nick Cave ,the smiths and stone  roses .He says music helps his writing process and he falls asleep to music every night .

The other theme of the book is the end of the world coming but also about what happened in the region Andrej comes from he grew up between Bosnia and Montenegro ,he was caught up in Bosnia civil war 1992  .I heard an interview via Andrej publishers Istros books with Andrej and Will firth  the translator .I worked alongside a Bosnia Croat in the mid nineties as he and I lived in Germany so the sense of how the war could happen and the end of something is some I felt from book also the first chapter when the detective describes what he has seen in the village can be expand to the canvas of the Bosnian war .I found this book a real hidden gem I must admit Will Firth looking for a new voice from this region and the new country of Montenegro has turn up a real gem and a strong new voice .That reminds you of why you read books in translation it is to see worlds through different eyes and concepts .   There  is a lot of imagery in this book the Fra Dolcino section could be seen as what happens when people’s views get out of hand .I say if you like a book that makes you think for weeks after but isn’t as long as a Umberto  Eco  this is the one for you .

April 2012


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