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A marijuana-loving Serbian journalist is drawn into a mystic morass after witnessing a woman getting slapped in this cerebral adventure from Albahari (Snow Man). After the unnamed journalist narrator witnesses the slap on the banks of the Danube, he tries to follow the woman (and fails) and is beset by bizarre happenings as he tries to divine the woman's identity and unravel the confrontation, which comes to take on cosmic importance. Soon, his apartment is vandalized, marking the first of several anti-Semitic threats he receives as his labyrinthine journey takes him through the cafes, graveyards, and synagogues of Belgrade, aided by his friend and fellow drug aficionado Marko, the mathematician Dragan Misovic, and a group of rabbis. The serpentine plot—densely packed, heavy on theology and its exploration of Jewish-Serbian identity—is sure-footed, though it is sometimes overwhelmed by its devices, such as equations, sacred shapes, and Kabbalistic rituals. Still, Albahari finds space and time for comic relief, and his characters remain consistently intriguing as they move through a mysterious Belgrade that can't shake its history. (Apr.)
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"Intense...there is a genuine sense of danger and a fascinatingly twisty plot" -- Kate Saunders The Times "Has the paranoid, hallucinatory feel of a mind slowly breaking down... It's a bold response to Serbia's bloodstained history" -- Claire Allfree Metro "A masterpiece, a thrilling maelstrom of conspiracies and counter-conspiracies" Die Zeit "Kafka for our times" Neue Zurcher Zeitung "Albahari is one of the great writers of this world and we do not know it, or not enough" La Vie Litteraire --This text refers to the Unknown Binding edition.See all Editorial Reviews
I don't read much contemporary fiction and I may have picked the wrong place to start. This novel, by a Serbian writer living in Canada, is a confusing mash of domestic violence,... Read morePublished on March 29, 2013 by Doctor.Generosity
I buy a lot of the $3.99 and under books amazon offers and have been more then happy with most. I was surprised when I saw this in the Amazon cheap list and on the Swarthmore list... Read morePublished on October 7, 2012 by Gerald
Strange prose, almost Finnegans Wake-like peppered with Kabbalistic symbolism (cover art is from Qabalist Robert Fludd's diagram on memory). Read morePublished on April 19, 2012 by rareoopdvds
Leeches is the first David Albahari novel I read - I tried Gotz and Meyer a while ago but it did not hook me so I marked it for later. Read morePublished on December 22, 2011 by Liviu C. Suciu
"Leeches" by David Albahari is a powerfully poetic and surreal work of fiction. I say "fiction" although it lies on the bedrock of the ugliest of past and recent histories. Read morePublished on June 7, 2011 by dadaamericano
It's tough to review this book because I firmly believe that it is possible to dislike a book for reasons that have nothing to do with the quality of the writing. Read morePublished on May 28, 2011 by Carol S.
Words come and words go, but tiny fragments of them stay around forever. Piles of discarded words reflect light like diamonds and we can plunge in to see what we might retrieve,... Read morePublished on May 24, 2011 by Bob Newman
I went through several different stages while reading this novel set in Serbia in the 1990s. It's written in a strange way, with long, curling, almost endless sentences and no... Read morePublished on May 18, 2011 by Alan A. Elsner
This is the first time I read book by David Albahari, writer of Serbian Jewish heritage who currenly lives in Canada. Read morePublished on May 15, 2011 by Helena