DARK MOTHER EARTH
OceanMore, 2017, 296 pages
•Complete English translation available
Novak illustrates the complexity of the philosophical concept of truth (and lie) with a heterogenous structure, composed of five chapters arranged in a non-chronological order. Each of them contemplates different versions of truth, or more precisely, they witness changes in protagonist’s existential truth in regard to the beholder and to the moment in time that this truth is perceived.Ljubica Matek | Kultura | Zavod za proučavanje kulturnog razvitka (RS)
Novak wrote an exceptional story, tenebrous like the heavy November fog on the river Mura. The beauty hidden in its cruel reality and masterful writing is mesmerizing and pushes the reader to the extremes – form laugh to tears and horror.Damjan Zorc | Peripetije
Memory and suicide are two inexplicable phenomena: they both deny the existence and reread it. Between memory and suicide awaits lie, as a ritual and a practice in which healing and regression meet. Apparition of ghosts only emphasizes that ambivalence: the ominous Hešto and Pujto will partake in ‘the grammar of disorder’ inside Matija’s mind, but also an inevitable social purgativeVladislava Gordić Petrović | Behar - Časopis za književnost i društvena pitanja
Translation rights sold: World rights (Amazon Crossing), excluding Germany
“Črna mati zemla” is a novel about Matija Dolenčec, a successful young writer struggling to overcome his creative and emotional block by reaching for his own, deeply repressed and forgotten story which was compensated by inventing all of his other stories. It’s a story about a personal journey from a bright, alienated, casual and urban place into one that is dark, intimate, essential and rural.
Matija’s suppressed memories slowly reveal a traumatic story of his childhood in a village in a rural region of north Croatia, of his father’s tragic death and eight mysterious suicides, of two demons haunting him, the loss of a friend, great myths and local legends, the historic turmoil of the nineties, everyday lies, guilt, cruelty, loneliness and love. Universality, depth and poignancy, intimate scenes and exceptional portraits, painful scenes of violence and pedophilia, humorist flares and delicate reflections are what makes this novel a rural panorama of memorable characters, a candle-lit horror hidden in the heart of darkness, immersed in the gelid river, a historic reconstruction of a microcosmos in which football and tanks, socialism and archetypes coexist.