From Publishers Weekly
Never before translated into English, this collection of interconnected stories, originally published in Belgrade in 1969, form the poignant, lightly fictionalized account of the acclaimed late novelist's boyhood in Yugoslavia. With a remarkable combination of affection, whimsy and wretchedness, these 19 lyrical, very short stories tell a recurring tale of spiritual innocence tainted by shame and the terror of life in hiding. In addition to his finesse with language and sensory detail, Kis succeeds at rendering a precocious child's struggle to comprehend the world. In the characteristic "The Game," a father hiding his Jewish origins is proud but unnerved when he catches his fair-haired son pretending to be a Jewish feather merchant, like the grandfather whom the boy has never seen. Frightened by the uncanny spectacle, the boy's gentile mother spins a bedtime tale that subtly informs the boy of racism and its mortal consequences. In each brief vignette, the boy contemplates his own disappearance and death, which he sees foreshadowed in his father's deportation to Auschwitz. Though its subtitle pitches the book to a relatively limited audience, Kis's slim work will touch vestigial nerves in most readers.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.
[A] subtle, heroic collection of connected stories...The coming horror [of World War II] is just beneath Kis's gently swelling prose.