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Maša Kolanović

 (HR) Maša Kolanović (C) Croatian Literature.Hr

Maša Kolanović (born in Zagreb, 1979) works as an associate professor in the Department of Croatian Studies at the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Zagreb. She graduated from the same faculty with a degree in Croatian language and comparative literature and a PhD. So far, she has published a number of articles on literature and popular culture, as well as the following novels: Sloboština Barbie (V.B.Z., Zagreb, 2008; translated into German as Underground Barbie, Prospero Verlag, Berlin-Münster, 2012) and Poštovani kukci i druge jezive priče (Dear Insects and Other Scary Stories, Profil knjiga d.o.o., Zagreb, 2019). She has also published two poetry books, Pijavice za usamljene (Leeches for the Lonely, Student Center, Zagreb, 2001) and Jamerika (Algoritam, Zagreb, 2013), and one monograph, Udarnik! Buntovnik? Potrošač… (Striker! Rebel? Consumer…, Naklada Ljevak, Zagreb, 2011), and has also edited Komparativni postsocijalizam: slavenska iskustva (Comparative Postsocialism: Slavic Experiences, Zagreb, Slavic School and FF Press, Zagreb, 2013) and The Cultural Life of Capitalism in Yugoslavia (with D. Jelača and D. Lugarić, Palgrave Macmillan, New York and London, 2017).

 

  • EUPL Year: 
    2020
  • EUPL Country: 

Winning Book

Poštovani kukci i druge jezive priče

This book tells of the absurdity of existence, connected to ruthless capitalism, with protagonists who try to preserve their dignity while floundering like bugs and sometimes literally ‘cracking up’. There are 12 stories with a range of compelling topics. An old aunt afraid of being buried alive decides to bring her cellphone to the grave, asking her family to call her the day after the funeral. A storyteller reads advertising slogans from IKEA’s catalogue to her dying husband and the former director of a department store. A girl whose mother died of colon cancer opens her mum’s wardrobe to find her ‘spending diary’ about how and what she bought through eBay, frantically spending money in order not to think about her diagnosis. An old father finds himself in the hands of a teleoperator with whom he signed an unfavourable contract, and begins to get huge bills because he can’t handle technology. A child asks her parents to get her exactly the sort of doll she happened to see in a documentary about Chernobyl. All 12 of them are stories in which life and death intertwine alongside laughter, some tears in the eyes and a lump in the throat.

(HR) Poštovani Kukci I Druge Jezive Priče

Publishing House

Address: 

Zagrebačka 23, Sesvete, Croatia

Organisation: 
Profil Knjiga

Translation Deals

  • Bulgarie : Персей
  • Albanie : Dituria
  • Macédoine : Ars Lamina

Excerpt

Poštovani kukci i druge jezive priče - Maša Kolanović - Language: Croatian

Kukci su gotovo

kao ljudi

Ne mogu više. Želim se riješiti ove starudije čim prije. Samo me podsjeća na umiranje. Ispred zgrade je već groblje starog namještaja. Nakupine očerupanih sofa, iščupanih kutnih garnitura, rastavljenih dječjih polica s naljepnicama nogometaša i Štrumpfova, rasklimanih komoda i prevrnutih ladica koje su počele gnjiliti. A gnjilit će još više na kiši koja je upravo počela sipiti. To su ljudi sami izbacili krupni otpad prije nekoliko tjedana. Valjda da se riješe stvari na kraju godine. Kao neko praznovjerje. Ne zna se koliko će trajati to čišćenje ni tko će to pokupiti. Sigurno će trunuti tu pred nama još mjesecima. Cigići se već dva dana motaju po kvartu oko tih hrpi. Prebiru što se da iskoristiti. Ja idem danas ravno u Ikeu. Naći ću neki namještaj, lagan i prozračan ko perce.  I ja ću doprinijeti hrpi pa nek po njoj prebire ko hoće. Pobacat ću sva ova masivna drva i glomazni kauč na razvlačenje, zauvijek ću otpisati tamno smeđe vitrine i stolčiće. Bit ću skandinavski siva, laka i moderna. Pitat ću onog malog s prvog kata da mi sav taj otpisani namještaj iznese van na tu hrpu, dat ću mu neku kintu, ionako je bez posla, živi valjda na grbači roditelja, samo se muva tu okolo po cijele dane. Prvo se želim riješiti glomaznog zelenog kauča. Na njemu samo vidim Josu, kako se smanjuje, kako se pretvara u kukca, kako umire. Ponekad jastuci i deka u zgužvanoj kombinaciji oblikuju njegovu skvrčenu konturu na tom kauču, fetus-položaj u kojem je ležao pod zadnje dane. Onda ga stvarno vidim kao da je još uvijek živ i još uvijek tamo leži, ali umjesto ruku i nogu ima ticala kao tanke obrise nabora prekrivača koji se granaju oko izbočine središta od jastuka. Prošlo je već pola godine. Svu sam njegovu robu dala za izbjeglice u Porin. Bilo je i nekoliko finih odijela. Dok je još bio direktor. Direktor Name. Dok je žario i palio sredinom osamdesetih. Na kraju od svega toga nije ostalo ništa. Ručkovi, putovanja, ugovori, odbori, sastanci. Što mu je to vrijedilo u fetus-položaju. Prvo, mirovina po kratkom postupku ranih devedesetih. Nije bio podoban. Još i Srbin. Ajde mali plus, žena Hrvatica. Iako bi bolje bilo obratno. Nije se prešaltao dovoljno brzo. Tko ga je častio, taj mu je kasnije okretao leđa. Infarkt jedan, infarkt drugi, a onda rak. Ti rakovi, to se samo razmiljelo po nama od rata. Ko da smo pješčane plaže. Samo čekaš ko je idući. Sve sam prošla zajedno s njim. Od prvog do zadnjeg dana. Djeca? Što od njih možeš tražiti. Imaju oni svojih briga. Bore se za vlastiti život. Idem sad u Ikeu, pobacat ću svu ovu starudiju po kojoj se umiralo, po kojoj se plakalo, pišalo i sralo. Istrgat ću ovu drvenu lamperiju i stare tapete. Preobući ću sve u novi skandinavski dizajn, bit će ko u ovim modernim apotekama. Sravnit ću sa zemljom sav taj gnjili namještaj, kuhinjske elemente po kojima se cijede mosuri masti koje ne mogu ni svrdlom više sastrugati. Sve ću soriti i početi ispočetka. Možda tako pronađem i leglo žohara koji ko meci izlijeću noću i gube se u svom tom masivnom namještaju. O, dobro ću im nasuti leglo otrovom. Vidim ih. Svugdje ih vidim. Više ne znam jesu li stvarni ili nisu.

Spiskat ću i ono malo ušteđevine jer ko zna koliko još imam do kraja. Naštedjeli smo se mi s kojekakvim štednjama u dinarima, devizama i kunama. Samo radimo, odričemo se i štedimo ko pčelice pa sve to onda propadne, pojede neka inflacija, popapa banka, država. A mi vječno odgađamo život. Štedimo za crne dane. Kao da nam ovaj naš život nije dovoljno crn. Evo, sad i ta moja sestra. Nešto su joj otkrili ispod pazuha. I sad čeka rezultate. Ne želim je zvati, ne želim znati rezultate. Barem ne danas. Dosta mi je polaganog umiranja. Pa ti onda štedi! Za koju mrtvu budućnost, ma za koju starost. Ta kad dođe sa svojim nevoljama niti jedna štednja je ne može podmititi. Kao što su htjeli podmititi ovog mog, da pogoduje, da rasproda pa kad nije htio, noga u guzicu i stiže nova garnitura. Još i Srbin. Poslije su ti isti pozavršavali po zatvorima. A mi smo se tad već ispisali iz javnog života. Nismo ni olakšanje osjetili. Dobro, ja sam bar zadržala posao u državnoj firmi koja nije propala i imala kakvu-takvu plaću do kraja radnog vijeka. Idem u Ikeu, sad mi je barem blizu. Kad se samo sjetim odlazaka u Graz i ustajanja u četiri ujutro. Vozi po mraku, do granice, pa kroz Sloveniju. Pred zoru stižemo u predgrađe Graza. Još je mrak. A ti ne znaš gdje bi prije, vrijeme curi, tijelom šiklja neki suludi adrenalin. Svi ti dućani na jednom mjestu, kupovao si koliko si mogao posakrivati u auto, uglavnom sitnice. Neki stolčić na jednostavno sklapanje, kakav prekrivač, set tanjura. Ništa veliko. Nešto veće ionako ne bi mogao prevesti u gepeku. Malo odjeće kakve nema kod nas. Moderne. Iz budućnosti. Nije ni previše skupa. A onaj moj bi uvijek nešto prigovarao. Direktor Name pa mrzi šoping. U panici da ga ne uhvate da nešto šverca. Da živi još sto godina, taj bi nosio valjda jedno te isto odijelo i košulju s masnom kragnom, ležao poslijepodne s novinama na onom oronulom kauču s kojeg federi bodu čovjeka oštro u rebra. Glavno da se posluje pošteno i po propisima. Eno mu ih na! Tad sam još i poželjela da bude malo korumpiran, to je bilo u modi tih godina kad se sve mijenjalo, kad je socijalizam umirao, a mi smo se nadali boljemu. Svi su tad malo otpustili remen. A onda je počelo žestoko. Poslije kuda koji mili moji. Sad nam je Ikea tu pred nosom. U poslovnoj zoni Zagreb istok. Nema prelazaka granice, sakrivanja stvarčica, otkidanja etiketa, kemijanja s računima. Švedskost ne poznaje granice. Idem. Cigo pušta neke narodnjake na mobitelu dok prebire po staroj krami. Pita me imam li što. Bit će, bit će, dragi moj, uskoro. Posvuda prevrnuti borovi. Katolički Božić je gotov. Treba dati do znanja susjedima. Borovi kao mrtvaci leže ispred kontejnera za smeće. Počinju velika sniženja. Vlaga se cijedi niz sive fasade.

Ova moja krntija nikako da upali. Tko još vozi staru Škodu Favorit. Bez klime. Mrtvi direktor Name. Posljednji Mohikanac tržišnog socijalizma. Ko da mi treba nešto drugo. Ionako nigdje ne idem. Što se ovo nagradilo posvuda? Nisam se micala iz kvarta mjesecima i više ne prepoznajem grad. Nagradilo se posvuda. Ima li uopće toliko ljudi koliko se nagradilo? Umire li itko po tim novogradnjama? Zagreb istok. Poslovna zona Istok. Blizu je Industrijska zona Žitnjak. E tamo su letjele kuće Srba u zrak i tjerali su ljude, a mi o tome nismo ništa znali i pravimo se da još uvijek ne znamo. Još smo mi i dobro prošli kako su neki. Sad su i tamo izgradili nove kuće. Kao da ništa nije bilo. Ma svugdje su izgradili. Ne smijem promašiti skretanje za Ikeu. Više i ne vidim dobro. Ćorava sam. Vozim u sunce. Sad kiša, sad sunce, i vrijeme je poludjelo. Nema više ni zime ko nekad. Samo neka mokra južina i sunce ispod oblaka. Ali tamo je, vidim je, plavo-žutu građevinu. Iz daleka izgleda kao dječja igračka. Evo je! Pogodila sam put. Bubri preda mnom. Sve je veća i veća. Ponedjeljak ujutro, a pun parking. Ljudi i stvari. Ikea-ljudi na plakatu. Napravi mjesta za život.

Translated Excerpt

Dear insects and other scary stories - Maša Kolanović - Translation by Vladislav Beronja

Pests Are Almost

Like People

I can’t take it anymore. I want to get rid of all of these relics as soon as possible. They only remind me of death. There’s already a grave-yard of old furniture in front of the building. A pile-up of tattered sofas, ripped out corner accents, dismantled children’s bookcases stickered with soccer players and Smurfs, wobbly chests and over-turned drawers that have started to molder. And they’ll molder even more in the rain, which had just started sprinkling. People from the building threw out all this bulk waste a few weeks ago. Probably to get rid of things at the end of the year. Like they’re heeding some old superstition. Nobody knows how long the clean-up will last nor who’ll pick it up. It’ll probably be rotting right here in front of us for months. Gypsies have been roaming around this neighborhood and circling around the piles for two days already. They’re picking through what’s useful. I’m going straight to IKEA today. I’m going to buy some furniture that’s light and airy as a feather. I’ll also con-tribute to the pile so whoever wants to pick through it, let them. I’ll throw out all this bulky lumber and the massive pull out couch, I’ll part with the dark brown china closet and the nightstands for-ever. I’ll be light and modern, in sleek Scandinavian gray. I’ll ask that kid on the first floor to take out all this derelict furniture to the curb, I’ll even give him some dough for it, since he’s without a job and probably living off his parents — he just hangs around here all day anyway. First, I want to get rid of the massive green couch. I can’t stop seeing Joso on it, getting smaller, turning into a pest, dying. Sometimes, the combination of the pillow with the crumpled blanket starts looking like his scrunched outline on that couch, the fetus-position that he settled on in his final days. Then, I can really see him, as if he’s still alive and lying right there in front of me, only instead of arms and legs he has grown antennae like the thin creases on the cover that branch around the middle bulge made by the pillow. It’s already been six months. I gave away all his clothes to the refugees in Porin. There were some really nice suits in that pile. From his days as a director. A director of the State De-partment Store. When he was the head honcho in the mid-eighties. In the end, it all came down to nothing. Fancy lunches, business trips, contracts, committees, meetings. What good is all that when you’re curled up in a fetus position. First, they forced him into early retirement in the early nineties. He had fallen out of favor. And he was a Serb on top of it. Okay, he had one thing going for him, a Croat wife. But it would’ve been better the other way around. He didn’t manage to switch allegiances fast enough. Those who had been picking up his tab were later turning their backs on him. First one heart attack, then another, and then, bam, cancer. And these can-cers, they’ve been spreading everywhere around us ever since the war. Like we’re sandy beaches. At this point, you’re just waiting to see who’s next. I’ve been through it all with him. From beginning to end. And children? What can you expect of them? They have their own worries. They’re just trying to make it in this world. I’m going to IKEA now and I’ll throw out all this decrepit furniture that peo-ple have been dying on, crying on, pissing and shitting on for years. I’ll rip out all these wooden lighting fixtures and old wallpaper. I’ll outfit everything in a new Scandinavian design, it’ll be like in those sleek, modern pharmacies. I’ll flatten to the ground all this moldy furniture, the kitchen sets dripping with layers of grease, which I can’t scrape off even with a drill bit. I’ll toss everything away and start from scratch. That way maybe I’ll even find the nest of cock-roaches, which have been darting out like bullets at night and get-ting lost in all this massive woodwork. Oh, I’ll sprinkle their nest nicely with poison. I see them. I see them everywhere. I don’t even know if they’re real or not anymore.

I’ll even squander what little savings I have, because who knows how much longer I have left to live. We’ve saved up with all kinds of nest eggs, in dinars, foreign currencies, and kunas. We just work, make sacrifices and save up like bees, and then everything collaps-es, some inflation, some bank, or the state gobbles it all up. And we just keep putting life on hold. Saving up for rainy days. As if this life of ours isn’t rainy enough. Now it’s my sister’s turn, too. They found something on her armpit. She’s waiting for the results as we speak. I don’t want to call her, I don’t want to know the results. At least not today. I’ve had enough of this slow death. But you just go right ahead and start saving! For what dead future, for what old age. When it comes with all its troubles, no amount of savings will be able to bribe it. Just like they tried to bribe that hubby of mine, to go along, to sell the state assets when he didn’t want to — a kick in the ass and in comes the new cadre. And he was a Serb on top of it. Later, all these new honchos ended up in prison. By then, we had already left public life. We didn’t even feel any relief. Fine, at least I kept my job in the state firm, which didn’t go under and paid me a pittance until my retirement. I’m going to IKEA, at least it’s now in the neighborhood. When I remember those trips to Graz, getting up at four in the morning. Driving in the dark, up to the border, and then through Slovenia. We’d arrive in the suburbs of Graz right before dawn. It’d still be dark out. You wouldn’t know where to begin, the time is ticking, and your body’s pumping with some crazed adrenaline. All these stores in one place, you’d buy as much as you could hide in your car, mostly trifles. Some tiny chair that’s easy to fold up, some blankets, a set of plates. Nothing big. Something bigger wouldn’t fit in the trunk anyway. Some clothes that you couldn’t find around here. Modern. From the future. They weren’t even that expensive. And that hubby of mine would always find something to complain about. A Director of the State Depart-ment Store, but he hates shopping. He’d worry about getting caught for smuggling. If he could live a hundred more years, he’d still wear that same exact suit and that same shirt with a greasy collar, and every afternoon he’d lie with the newspaper on that same sunken couch whose springs would jab further and further into his ribs. The important thing is to do business fairly and according to regu-lations. Well, he can have ‘em! I even wanted him to be a little more corrupt back then, it was fashionable at that time, when everythingwas changing, when socialism was dying, while we hoped for the better. Everyone loosened their grip a little back then. And then it started in earnest. Afterwards, it was each man for himself and god against all. Now IKEA is right here in front of our noses. In the Zagreb-East business district. No more border crossings, hiding of trifles, ripping of price tags, doctoring of receipts. Swedishness knows no borders. I’m going. A gypsy is playing turbo-folk on his cell phone while picking through scrap. He asks me whether I’ve got anything. Soon enough, my darling, soon enough. Christmas trees on the ground everywhere. The Catholic Christmas is over. Some-body should let the neighbors know. Christmas trees are lying in front of the dumpster like corpses. Great savings are about to start. Water drips down the gray façades.

This clunker of mine can barely start. Who else drives an old Škoda Favorit? With no air conditioning. The dead Director of the State De-partment Store, that’s who. The Last Mohican of market socialism. Like I need something better. It’s not like I go anywhere. What’s all this construction everywhere? I haven’t left my neighborhood in months and now I hardly recognize the city. Construction every-where. Are there even enough people to fit into so much construc-tion? Is there anyone dying in this new construction? Zagreb-East. Business district East. The industrial district Žitnjak is not too far off. They were blowing up Serb houses and chasing people out of their homes over there, and we didn’t know anything about it and now we pretend that we still don’t. We got through it alive at least, which is more than some others can say. Now there’s new houses even there. Like nothing happened. What am I saying, they’ve built them everywhere. I can’t miss the turn for IKEA. I can’t even see well anymore. I’m blind as a bat. I’m driving straight into the sun. Now rain, now shine, even the weather’s gone mad. Even the win-ters aren’t what they used to be. Just a bunch of damp wind and the sun hiding behind the clouds. But there it is, I see it, the yellow-and-blue building. It looks like a toy from afar. Here it is! I got the direc-tions right. It’s swelling in front of me. Getting bigger and bigger. Monday morning and the parking lot’s full. People and things. IKEA people on the billboard. Make room for life.

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