AN ANGEL IN OFFSIDE
Naklada MD, 2000, 174 pages
One short story translated in English
• complete translation in German
Declared as the book of the decade in Croatia while being on bestseller list for more than two years, this extraordinary collection of short stories presents author`s recognizable grotesque world but offering us a more complex and consistent structure.
With his second collection of short stories, An Angel in Offside, honouredwith the two most prestigious literary awards of the year (the Gjalski Award and the Jutarnji List Award), Zoran Ferić confirmed his status as one of themost important contemporary Croatian prose writers. The book went on to become a bestseller, which is not characteristic of short story collections, retaining first place on a bestseller list for two years. Critics unanimously agreed that this collection of stories was extraordinary, while, according to a survey, it was declared as a book of the decade.
While the stories from his first collection have a greater focus on plot and anunfortunate combination of circumstances, depicting characters as God’s or Satan’s toys, his second work puts greater emphasis on character as the most important element of stories which are here longer, more complex and usually consist of several, smaller stories as chapters.
Themes such as death, illness and phobias are present here as well, including Ferić’s recognizable grotesque world, although the structure is quite different; perhaps a nascent novel, perhaps a heap of truncated parts. One of the stories here, which is thematically related to hypochondria, is set in the waiting room of an AIDS clinic that almost becomes a theatre of the absurd. Another is about the branding Venetian galley slaves which makes reference to Mann’s Death in Venice, while the title story depicts the darkly comic funeral of a ten year old girl on the island of Rab. An Angel in Offside has been translated into German, Spanish, Ukrainian and Slovenian. The title story was awarded with the AGM Award for best story of Plima magazine, while the book was awarded with the Gjalski Award and the Jutarnji List Award in 2000. In Croatia, the book was published in four editions by Naklada MD, Profil International, Jutarnji List and V.B.Z.