Maša Kolanović (Zagreb, 1979) works as an associate professor at the Department of Croatistics 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 and the following books: Pijavice za usamljene (Leeches for the Lonely, Student Center, Zagreb, 2001); Sloboština Barbie (V.B.Z., Zagreb, 2008; translated into German as Underground Barbie, Prospero Verlag, Berlin-Münster, 2012); Udarnik! Buntovnik? Potrošač… (Striker! Rebel? Consumer …, Naklada Ljevak, Zagreb, 2011); Jamerika (Algoritam, Zagreb, 2013); and Dragi kukci i druge jezive price (Dear Insects and Other Scary Stories (Profile, Zagreb, 2019). She also edited Comparative Postsocialism: Slavic Experiences (Zagreb Slavic School), FF Press, Zagreb, 2013).
The absurdity of existence connected to ruthless capitalism in which protagonists try to preserve their dignity by floundering like bugs and sometimes literally ‘cracking up’. Twelve stories with a range of compelling topics. An old aunt afraid to be buried alive who decides to bring her cellphone to the grave, asking the family to call her the day after the funeral. The storyteller who reads advertising slogans from Ikea’s catalogue to her dying husband, a former director of a department store. A girl whose mother died of colon cancer opens her mum’s wardrobe and finds her ‘spending diary’ about what and how she bought through eBay, frantically spending money in order not to think about her diagnosis. An old father who finds himself in the grasp of a tele-operator with whom he signs an unfavourable contract 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. Stories in which life and death intertwine laughter, tears in the eye and a lump in the throat.