ONE MUST IMAGINE ME HAPPY

DAVOR MANDIĆ

Naklada Ljevak, 2014, 193 pages
•complete English translation

A writer who concludes his (debut) collection with a story in which Story – yes, with a capital letter, since the story itself becomes the protagonist – quarrels with him, even tells him to go f** himself, is either a certified postmodernist, or simply funny. Davor Mandić is luckily the latter. In the same concluding story, which we would call auto-poetic, if this phrase were not contaminated by inaccurate use, Mandić says: “But I need a twist, a fantastic twist. What use do I have for another story with a social conscience? Since you know everything, you must know I have plenty of those. What I need is more of a shift, more of the fantastic. That’s what I need.” Transition and fantasy, not a bad book recommendation.

Teofil Pančić | Jutarnji list

What we have is a very interesting, high-quality and evocative collection of stories which is very hard to be accurately placed on the existing literary short story scene.

Jagna Pogačnik | Jutarnji list

The stories in short stories collection One Must Imagine Me Happy are like a well-groomed, aristocratic English garden. There are no excesses that stick out and bore the reader, no redundant sophistry, or turning a short story into a subject for a doctoral dissertation.

Davor Mandić could have written a different book, perhaps a guide to spearfishing or gardening. Even, if things really went South, a semi-autobiographical work, which would make him look smarter, more well-read and beautiful than he really is. No one would say a word; the guy’s writing is nice, he has a good sense for literature, only the occasional librarian would think how they might have expected something different from him.
And yet, no one knowing how or why for it is still a bit of a mystery, Davor Mandić wrote a book not only for himself: the reader will easily find something deliciously literate, sociable, surreal and uncompromising in these beautiful stories. The ticking of the clock on top of the wardrobe is a bit different after reading these stories: the light breeze blew from the open balcony door and ruffled the curtains. Mandić is both witty and delicately melancholy, and this has resulted in a book ready to feed you silly plans, glorious failures, fantastic dreams and other single-celled miracles in a long afternoon.