WALT DISNEY’S MOUSETRAP

ZORAN FERIĆ

Naklada MD, 1996, 124 pages
• one short story available in English
• complete translation available in German

What is made emphatic in the text is its refined construction. Ferić often combines motifs into a single unit, creating space for unexpected twists. He often models his stories according to the principles of music; they develop into a rondo of naughtiness, while the author, despite providing readers with a picture of human tragedy, using laconic sarcasm, he opens spaces for laughter to run free.

Der Standard

Ferić’s prose is insidious, dangerous and beautiful as a snake. A real treat. F

Frakfurter Allgemeine Zeitung

Very amusing, very whimsical in all cases, and sometimes macabre: these ten ultimately grotesque stories are the pure enjoyment of reading.

ÖKS, CULTURAL

Translation rights sold: France (Éditions de l’Éclisse), Germany (Folio Verlag), Poland (Pogranicze Sejny), Ukraine (Lavov), Slovenia (…)

Ten stories in Walt Disney’s Mousetrap present Ferić as a brilliant analyst of stupidity, misconceptions, malice and vulgarity. His revelatory stories hit us right there where it hurts the most and where laughter – freezes.

DIE WOCHE

Behind the title of one of these stories, standing as a paradigm for the world in the entire book, Ferić collected narratives which make use of black humor, the grotesque and an exposition of the absurd, in order to create a world so close to ours that the reader might feel a considerable chill. Stories of gravediggers playing with doctors of science from the Institute of Atomic Physics situated near the cemetery, of the man who uses his Mickey Mouse watch to rape a ten year old girl and the married couple trying to overcome their son’s suicide with music. Among the characters here is a man whose parents were killed in the war and Ambrozije Testen, a Franciscan monk who paints an act of a very obese woman. Each of these stories explicitly shows how people can be confined by body and history, which acts as a source of their misfortune. These texts, sometimes composed as classical novels and sometimes as short psychological stories, take a comic approach to death and illness, while the war in Croatia during the nineties and its tragedy is marked as a visible yet unrevealed place; something that arouses strong emotions, but is never talked about. Symbolic images related to these texts are Auschwitz and Disneyland. And it is clear that Disneyland is by no means a nicer place than the most notorious concentration camp in history. Walt Disney’s Mousetrap has been translated into German, Polish, Ukranian and Slovenian. In Croatia, the book was published in three editions by Naklada MD, Profil International and V.B.Z.
It is the first and, unfortunately, the last book which won the Dekada Award, founded to honor the most influential book of the decade. Although the award was discontinued in Croatia, it still emphasizes the awareness of the importance of Ferić’s book for contemporary Croatian prose. The stories in this book retain some basic features of his earlier texts and although displaying a greater deepth, the grotesquerie and absurdity of his narrative world remain. Ferić is a lover of literary parables.