CIRCUS COLUMBIA

IVICA ĐIKIĆ

Feral Tribune, 2003, 110 pages
• complete translation available in Spanish and Italian

Translation rights sold: Italy (Zandonai Editore), Spain (Sajalin Editores), Bosnia and Herzegovina (Civitas), Serbia (with other stories, Red Box)

A political and romantic saga that covers the end of a century which tragically announced the beginning of a new era in the Balkans. Written is prose typical of the best of Bosnian writers – as the Nobel prize winning author Ivo Andrić – in its method of storytelling, in its creation and development of character, its consistent plot and specific sense of calm when presenting even the most disturbing content. 

Circus Columbia, the debut novel by Ivica Đikić tells the story of the city of Mostar and its citizens during the war and postwar period, in the 90s of the last century. A moody and resentful Gastarbeiter returns to his hometown, a small town in Herzegovina, where he immediately loses the black cat to whom he’s morbidly attached. The entire citizenry, lured by the promise of a big reward, is involved in a mad pursuit of the cat, an emanation of a Bulgakovian infernal memory, followed by chaotic episodes both hilarious and tragic. The subversion of the balance of a small community, already torn by rough borders and domestic envy, provides the cat Bonny, the winds of a fratricidal war with its executions, deportations and stampedes with a certain significance; we will also find nationalist ravings that eventually arrive at the forefront of a new generation of “patriots” who entrust themselves to the admiration of the fragility of fate. This is an epic, grotesque and corrosive satire of the “Croatian renaissance” of the nineties, a tale of many voices; all expressing a power of narrative verve that, in the tradition of Balkan literature, prefers the wrong side of the world over the right, revealing how ephemeral the boundaries are of when attempting to establish private or collective identity.