Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your email address or mobile phone number.
Tomb for Boris Davidovich (Eastern European Studies (Paperback)) Paperback – June 1, 2001
Frequently Bought Together
Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought
“Kis slices into the essence of revolutionary spirit.” (Booklist)
“ A Tomb for Boris Davidovich bears traces of Orwell's 1984 and Koestler's Darkness at Noon, but it has its own special flair.” (New Leader)
“An absolutely first-rate book, one of the best things I've ever seen on the whole experience of communism in Eastern Europe, but more than that, it's really a first-rate novel.” (Irving Howe)
“A portrait of a country and a people in turmoil, a portrait of how Communism both creates and devours its sons.” (Publishers Weekly)
“A stunning statement on political persecution.” (World Literature Today)
“In Kis's case . . . it is the consistent quality of the local prose that counts. It is how, sentence by sentence, the song is built, and immeasurable meanings meant. It is the rich regalia of his rhetoric that leads us to acknowledge his authority. On his page, trappings are not trappings, but sovereignty itself.” (New York Review of Books)
Original Language: Serbo-Croation
More About the Author
Top Customer Reviews
Danilo Kis was born in Serbia in 1935 to a Hungarian Jewish father and Montenegrin Serbian mother. His father perished in the Holocaust. Kis died of cancer in 1990 at age 55. As noted in an excellent introduction by the writer, poet and Nobel Prize winner Joseph Brodsky, publication of A Tomb for Boris Davidovich in Yugoslavia in 1976 created a firestorm in Belgrade similar to the controversies that flared up when Solzhenitsyn's One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich was published in the USSR during Khrushchev's thaw. The book was savaged by the Yugoslav writer's union. As Brodsky notes in one memorable line, "there are several topics an author may deal with which can jeopardize his well-being, and history is one of them". The controversy, standing alone, may justify reading Tomb for Boris Davidovich. I am pleased to report that these stories are so well-constructed and laden with meaning that it would be worth reading even if its publication had been greeted with equanimity by the apparatchiks that manned the Yugoslav writers' union.
The seven stories that comprise Danilo Kis' A Tomb for Boris Davidovich have a few elements in common. Each involves a protagonist from a different country, Ireland, Hungary, Rumania, Poland, or Russia. In effect, each protagonist comes from a nation or a group that participated in the Comintern (the Soviet led Third International that coordinated the worldwide activities of various Communist organizations established by Lenin in 1919). Each gets swept up in the machinations that swirled around the Soviet Union's Great Terror of the 1930s. Each ends up either dead or in the Gulag.Read more ›
What was so incriminating in that book, that communist party simply had to make that move? When one starts to question revollution, when one starts to question necessity of one voice-one peolpe doctrine, when one sees in "fight of the oppressed" just a certain kind of tragedy, human misery that has been manifesting repeatedly through human existene, one must become "enemy of the state". And that has not changed up until today, nor it will. But that is the story for some other place and time.
There is much of J.L. Borges influence in this work, especially in the short stoy called "Dogs and books", but you mustn't think that this is Borgesian "collection" of stories. These work are much less artistic (whatever that means) and much more they resemble reality, life itself, than Borges work does.
By telling the story of seven individuals, the lived their life in a countries rich with political struggles, Danilo Kis draws excellent portrait oh human ability to endure, and even so, to somehow fail miserably and be forever gone from this world.
Why the four stars? I was hearing so much of this book, and when I finally read it, it somehow dissapointed me, probably was expecting to much, or maybe is just that, taht I have failed to grasp entire meaning of the novel. So, better to read it again :) If you looked for great writer from, Mid-Southern Europe, Kis is the one you could deffinitely start with.
This short book is physically frightening, nightmare material, and its power is all the more awful because it is authentically universal. It's not merely another indictment of the police state, of the slaughters committed by Lenin and Stalin, of the archipelago of terror that was "the Other Europe" for most of the 20th Century. That becomes totally explicit in the chapter entitled 'Dogs and Books', which transcribes the documentary reports of a forced conversion of Jews to Christianity in France in 1330, a perfect parallel gulag tragedy of torture and murder in the name of righteous certainty. The moral is clear: believers make good killers.
"A Tomb for Boris Davidovitch" is an series of interlocking capsule biographies of "revolutionaries" who are almost all slaughtered in their own cause by other revolutionaries of their own 'faith.' It is written with phosphorus flare intensity and such authenticity that the reader can't be bothered to wonder where 'facts' end and imagination begins. For once, the acclaim for a book from the "other Europe" is completely justified. This little book will outlast its time and place, and all of us.
As I said above, the universality of Danilo Kis's portrayal of ideological inhumanity is what raises his work beyond that of Solzhenitzyn and others. What happens in the seven tales of this book is unimaginably hideous but obviously real. My amazon avatar, Giordano Bruno, could testify: he was kidnapped and imprisoned in a cold stone dungeon in Rome for seven years; then he was given a final mock trial, tortured, sentenced to death.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This book is a set of sometimes slightly related stories, all are which is 10-30 pages long, with a similar plot arc: main character becomes entrapped in Stalinist terror and is... Read morePublished 21 days ago by Mb Todd
My four stars for this book (maybe closer to three) reflect only my personal enjoyment of this modern Serbian classic, which Harold Bloom has included among his WESTERN CANON. Read morePublished 11 months ago by Roger Brunyate
I am tempted not to elaborate and leave that sentence stand as the entire review, but I will suppress the urge and proceed to secondary details. Read morePublished on February 4, 2014 by R. M. Peterson
"A Tomb for Boris Davidovich" is a book that manages somehow to maintain a respectful and positive perspective on humanity whilst describing some of the worst treatment that... Read morePublished on July 3, 2013 by keetmom
It seems like Kis wants to be some sort of slavic Borges. His stories try and cop many of Borges's themes and even to a certain extent Borgese's literary voice. Read morePublished on March 3, 2012 by jafrank
Before opening this book, my understanding of it was that Kis tried to write a fictionalized account of the destruction of devoted members of the Comintern, in a style inspired by... Read morePublished on May 31, 2011 by Reader in Tokyo
Danilo Kis is someone whom I have wanted to read ever since I heard Susan Sontag share her admiration for him in an interview several years ago. Read morePublished on April 11, 2011 by A Certain Bibliophile
A TOMB FOR BORIS DAVIDOVICH explores the nightmarish lives of six characters--a tailor/butcher, an idealist, a communist party functionary, a murdered doctor, a revolutionary, and... Read morePublished on October 25, 2009 by Ethan Cooper
I have enjoyed this (and all other Danilo Kis's books) immensly.Published on March 4, 2003 by pjesa