Battle Songs is bleak but not hopeless, and Drndić’s inventive style carries the reader along without allowing the disillusionment of the book to become disillusionment with the experience of reading it. Those new to Drndić will find themselves impatient to dig deeper into her writing. Fans of her previously Englished books may come away with a better idea of her artistic progression. Anyone interested in Eastern European history or the continuing playfulness of the novelistic form would do well to read Battle Songs.

Alex Tedesco, Blathering Struldbrugs

An early novel from the masterful Drndić, Battle Songs is an intimate, ferocious account of her years spent as a refugee in Canada during the Yugoslav Wars

Included in the Available Titles catalog

Battle Songs

Fictionby Daša Drndić

Translated from Croatian by Celia Hawkesworth

In the 1990s, the unnamed narrator of Battle Songs leaves Yugoslavia with her daughter Sara for Toronto to start a new life. They, along with other refugees, encounter a new country but not a new home. Book editors sell hot dogs, mathematicians struggle to get by on social security, violinists hawk cheap goods on the street. Years after arriving in Canada, when she thinks no one can hear her, Sara still sings in the shower: What can we do to make things better, what can we do to make things better, la-la-la-la.

In true Drndić style, the novel has no one time or place. It is interspersed with stories from the Yugoslav Wars, from Rijeka to Zagreb to Sarajevo—with, as always, the long shadow of the Second World War looming overhead. Her singular layering of details—from lung damage to silk scarves to the family budget to old romances—offers an almost unbearable closeness to the characters and their moment in history. “Wry and kindly, funny, angry, informed and intent on the truth, no voice is quite as blisteringly beautiful as that of Drndić” (Financial Times).

Paperback(published Feb, 07 2023)

ISBN
9780811234788
Price US
17.95
Trim Size
5x8
Page Count
192

Ebook

ISBN
9780811234795

Battle Songs is bleak but not hopeless, and Drndić’s inventive style carries the reader along without allowing the disillusionment of the book to become disillusionment with the experience of reading it. Those new to Drndić will find themselves impatient to dig deeper into her writing. Fans of her previously Englished books may come away with a better idea of her artistic progression. Anyone interested in Eastern European history or the continuing playfulness of the novelistic form would do well to read Battle Songs.

Alex Tedesco, Blathering Struldbrugs

Drndić’s formidable intelligence and Homeric intention cannot help but thrill and exalt.

Dustin Illingworth, The Paris Review

Drndić interweaves fiction, reality, history, and memory to terrific effect, producing unforgettable meditations on love and loss, the insanity of war and the legacy of human cruelty.

Lucy Popescu, The White Review

Her writing glows with an incendiary bleakness worthy of Beckett.

Boyd Tonkin, The Arts Desk

Believe the hype about Daša Drndić.

Exberliner

Drndić cannot be dispassionate. Her work throbs like a hurt human heart.

Words Without Borders