Translated from the Slovene by David Limon
The Diaries of Adam and Eve, A Novel by Evald Flisar 978-81-957816-1-4 pp 216 Paperback 2022 Rs. 495 Indian
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Slovenia’s bestselling novelist, Evald Flisar’s the Dairies of Adam and Eve is one of the most unusual complex novels. Considered one of the most unusual “love stories,” the book weaves the story of Adam and Eve are a young couple who desperately want a child, but cannot have one, because one of them is infertile. Unable to communicate openly, they secretly read each other’s diaries, and in their need to have a child finally invent one. The problem is that each invents a different one and that by clinging to their images, living in a world that is reality and fiction at the same time, their lives take a turn for disaster. The novel requires dedicated reading, but is endowed with many layers of meaning, open to many interpretations, rich with unexpected twists and turns, forcing us to doubt the certainty of what we perceive as reality.
“Flisar’s novel can be seen as an artistic testimony that mental problems are in a way worse than physical illness, since their consequence is that a person cannot be included in a community and in tune with it, and with this everything that gives meaning to our life remains absent.”
—Majda Travnik Vode in the Afterword
Born in 1945 in Slovenia, then still part of Yugoslavia, Evald Flisar is an iconic figure in contemporary Slovenian literature. Novelist, playwright, essayist, editor, globe-trotter (travelled in 98 countries), underground train driver in Sydney, Australia, editor of (among other publications) an encyclopedia of science and invention in London, author of short stories and radio plays for the BBC, president of the Slovene Writers’ Association (1995 – 2002), since 1998 editor of the oldest Slovenian literary journal Sodobnost (Contemporary Review), he is also the author of 16 novels (eleven of them short-listed for kresnik, the Slovenian “Booker”), two collections of short stories, three travelogues, two books for children and 15 stage plays (eight nominated for Best Play of the Year Award, three times won the award).
Winner of Prešeren Foundation Prize, the highest state award for prose and drama, and the prestigious Župančič Award for lifetime achievement. His work has been translated into 40 languages. His stage plays are regularly performed all over the world, most recently in Austria, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Japan, Taiwan, Serbia, Bosnia, Belarus, USA and Mexico. Attended more than 50 literary readings and festivals on all continents. Lived abroad for 20 years (three years in Australia, 17 years in London). Since 1990 he lives in Ljubljana, Slovenia.
His legendary novel, The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, set in Ladakh and Zanskar, is the most widely read Slovenian work of fiction since World War II; still a “must-read” 36 years after its first publication, it will soon appear in its 12th edition. His novel My Father’s Dreams, published in 2005, has earned him a place at the European Literature Night, an annual event at the British Library that features 6 of the best contemporary European writers. Another of his novels, On the Gold Coast, was nominated for the Dublin International Literary Award and was listed by The Irish Times as one of 13 best novels about Africa written by Europeans, alongside Joseph Conrad, Graham Greene, Isak Dinesen, JG Ballard, Bruce Chatwin and other great literary names.
In June/July 2015 he completed a three-week literary tour of USA, reading at the Congress Library in Washington and SUA convention in Chicago, attending the performance of his play Antigone Now at the Atlas Performing Arts Center in Washington, speaking at the Slovene Permanent Mission at the United Nations.
His international success is truly astonishing: speakers of languages into which his works have so far been translated represent half of the world’s population.