SINGER IN THE NIGHT

OLJA SAVIČEVIĆ 

Sandorf, May 2016, 152 pages

Full English and German translation available

At times, the novel is unapologetically sentimental and brazenly riotous, a pure delight in the vein of Jonas Jonasson’s The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared. Clementine is a memorable protagonist: chatty and beguiling, insightful and shrewd. Words Without Borders

This reflection on the fragility of memory – both personal and historical – is a poignant, innovative and politically engaged book that deserves attention. Helen Vassallo | Translating Women

The great strength of the novel, along with its complexity, lies in its courage to present a period of time and its ‘structures of feeling’ (Raymond Williams) in full colour, in an atmosphere of ideological passions, and in opposition to nationalist and neoliberal dogma. Eurozine

Translation rights sold: UK (Istros Books), Italy (L’Asino d’oro edizioni), Germany (Voland&Quist), Serbia (LOM)

Winner of Pen English Award 2020

Famous soap opera scriptwriter, Clementine, is slowly losing her memory and decides to embark on a road trip down memory lane (in a golden convertible), in search of her greatest love and ex-husband, Nightingale, an artist whose uncompromising artistic integrity is opposed to Cementines’s fickle life in the world of TV drama. It is a series of letters by the street poet Nightingale, written over several weeks and hand-delivered to the inhabitants of the street where they lived, that cracks open the novel. The letters, triggered by a mysterious couple who make love loudly in the middle of the night, keeping the neighborhood awake, touch upon the nature of love, war, lust, capitalism, and childhood, highlighting the paradox of the human condition through playful humor.

Singer in the Night is a rich, sensual novel which comments on perception, on how life is really lived – never objectively, never encompassing the whole truth, and yet no less real to us. In its final message, the novel gives a playful warning about the consequences of choosing banality – whether it be nationalism, vanity, or fame – over true human connection.