The Price of Heaven: Travel Stories from India and Nepal
by Evald Flisar, translated from Slovene by the Author & Alan McConnel-Duff.
ISBN 81-8250- 020-6 2009 Paper pp.200. Rs. 195.
The Price of Heaven is a fresh addition to the Travel literature of the subcontinent. Flisar sees the Indian subcontinent through native eyes. The stories fill you not only with relief and gratitude but also with a feeling that strikes you as “something like pure love.”
Evald Flisar is Slovenia’s best selling author of novels and short stories, and an internationally performed and acclaimed playwright.
Flisar studied comparative literature at the University of Ljubljana and English (including English Lit.) at Chiswick Polytechnic in London and has traveled in over 80 countries, mostly in the Third World.
Between travels he worked (among other things) as an underground train driver in Sydney, Australia, and executive editor of the Marshall Cavendish Encyclopedia of Science and Invention in London.
He has written what some literary experts regard as the best travel books in Slovene so far, a cult novel, Èarovnikov vajenec (Going Away with a Wild Tiger), reprinted seven times, eight other novels (four of them short listed for Best Novel of the Year Award, one filmed for TV), two collections of short stories, numerous radio plays and fifteen stage plays, all of which have been produced professionally at home and (some) in many countries abroad, including London’s West End.
Winner of the highest awards for both prose and drama, Flisar is editor of the oldest Slovenian literary magazine Sodobnost, founded in 1933. From 1995 to 2002 (at one of the most crucial moments in the 130-year history of this organization) he was president of the Slovene Writers’ Association.
Although Flisar’s prose figures prominently on the national literary scene, he has achieved his greatest success, especially internationally, as a playwright. His most successful play, Tomorrow (Prešeren Fund Award, highest State award for literature), originally broadcast by BBC Radio 3 and later produced on stage in as many as eighteen countries, has been described by a British critic as “a brilliant absurdist comedy showing the birth of the postmodern society”, and most recently by Austrian critics as “a theatrical wonder” and “a masterpiece’.
His more recent play, Nora Nora (Best Play of the Year Award, 2004) caused a scandal when produced in Arabic translation at the Hanager Art Centre in Cairo. Another great success at home and abroad remains his play, What about Leonardo? which bagged Prešeren Fund Award, Best Play of the Year Award) and The Times critic, Jeremy Kingston after its London production described it as “an unforgettable study of a man out of touch with himself”. The play has been produced on professional stages as far apart as Iceland and Indonesia (where the legendary Teater Koma’s January 2008 productions (Kenapa Leonardo?) engendered an intense public debate, with page-long reviews in at least 20 newspapers and with a Google search producing more than 30.000 entries within days of the play’s opening).
Forthcoming productions of Flisar’s plays are pending in many parts of the world, most notably in Tokio, Japan (Gesshoku Kagekidan Theatre, What about Leonardo?), Calcutta, India (Ganakrishti Theatre Company, Shakuntala 2009) and Graz, Austria, where his Eleventh Planet will open at Theater im Keller on October 22, 2008.
Over the next four years, Theater im Keller, which has already presented Tomorrow and Nora Nora, is planning to produce five more plays by Evald Flisar, crowning the project with What about Leonardo? in 2011 to celebrate the 70th anniversary of its founding.
Flisar’s latest play remains Antigone 2010, a documentary, which he was commissioned to write for the Slovene National Theatre in Ljubljana.
His works have been translated into English, Dutch, German, Czech, Slovak, Finnish, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, French, Danish, Icelandic, Croatian, Serbian, Macedonian, Russian, Hungarian, Greek, Lithuanian, Turkish, Arabic, Malay, Indonesian, Hindi, Bengali, Marathi, Nepali and Japanese.