Daša Drndić

Daša Drndić

Daša Drndić is a Croatian novelist, playwright, critic, and author of radio plays and documentaries. Trieste, her first novel to be translated into English, was shortlisted for the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize in 2013.

Belladonna

Fiction by Daša Drndić

Translated from the Croatian by Celia Hawkesworth

Belladonna: also known as deadly nightshade, devil’s berries, death cherries, beautiful death, devil’s herb, which sounds terrifying and threatening. Belladonna also carried a tamer name, dog’s cherry, and an almost magical one, fairy plant. Andreas Ban, a psychologist who no longer psychologizes, a a writer who no longer writes, lives alone in a coastal town in Croatia. His body is failing him. He sifts through the remnants of his life—his research, books, medical records, photographs—remembering old lovers and friends, the tragedies of WWII, the breakup of Yugoslavia.…
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One of the strangest and strongest books.

TLS

Drndić has in her own way composed an astonishment that extracts light from darkness.

The Jewish Daily Forward

Drndić is writing to witness and to make the pain stick. Even at their most lurid, her sentences remain coldly dignified.

New York Times Book Review

Belladonna is arriving in America at exactly the right time. Drndić’s novel rings out like an air raid siren.

—Sara Nović, Music & Literature

Drndić’s depiction of psychologist and writer Andreas Ban is so vivid one starts to look for more writing by him. Ban’s utterly candid, open-eyed, no-holds-barred assessment of his own life, looking back at loves and colleagues, at what happened in Croatia and elsewhere in Europe during hideous, dark turbulent times leaves one in awe.

—Rick Simonson, Elliott Bay Book Company

A very fine novel, wise and brave. Drndić’s fiction is very powerful statement fiction, and yet somehow the quality, the humanity, the playfulness actually counter the polemical intent. This is an extraordinary book.

—Eileen Battersby, Irish Times
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