Fraktura, 2018, 176 pages

The novel Apparition was written in the first person, which is one of the most hazardous narrative modes, and Đikić did it magnificently – it’s vivid, plausible, dynamic, with complete internal justification of such choice. The novel pulsates with highly specific allusiveness and allegoricity, kept at all times at the level of the newly created world of text, not for a moment falling into the danger of literal ‘recognizability’ and trivial possibilities of reading a roman-à-clef. Thus, this perfectly crafted text holds its reader in constant urge to divine and unravel it, but ultimately always comes back to itself and its own fascinating reality. Ivan Lovrenović | Author

In a godforsaken part of an unnamed country, near an unimportant village known only for its saffron production more than twenty-five years ago, suddenly and without an apparent motive, domestic and wild animals started to climb the hill G. and peacefully look at the sky. Electric fence is soon put up around the hill by the church authorities, along with other devices set to keep the animals away, and the miracle, like the nearby Marian apparition, remains forgotten until the suicide of reverend Leopold Hort. We learn about these events, their background and another suicide during the first apparition, in the last word at the trial against Albert Koc.

In his defence speech, Albert Koc, the genius writer of speeches and proclamations, founder of the secret Special Office for Social Self-criticism during the presidency of Oktavio Naht, exposes the hypocrisy of the Church and state, his own ideas and suggestions to the exiled president Naht, which at one point opened the door of a country prone to dictatorship and autocratic rule towards the world and progress. Charged with instigation to suicide to avenge his brother’s death, Koc defends not just himself but above all the idea of freedom and common sense.

Apparition is a novel about democracy and its weaknesses, about the Catholic church, dictatorship and freedom. Through the story of one man and his family, Ivica Đikić brilliantly depicts not only the volatility of politics and luck but also focuses on the questions of morality, loyalty, faith and love. The apparition already happened, and our choice – to conceal or accept it – will determine the kind of world we’ll live in.