Based on some historical facts Marojević's new novel 'Schnitt' brings the history of the Balkans to absurdity, which is not very far from what it really is.
Born in Vrbas, Serbia in 1968. Published novels “Obmana Boga” ('To Deceive God', 1997), “Dvadeset četiri zida” ('Twenty-four walls', 1998), “Žega” ('Drought', 2004) and “Šnit” ('Schnitt', 2007, 2008), together with two books of stories “Tragači” ('Seekers', 2001) i “Mediterani” ('Mediterraneans' 2006). For the novel 'Žega' he received “Stevan Pešić” award and won a prize given by Borislav Pekić Fund. His play 'Nomad' ('Nomads') was staged in Spain in 2004. The adaptation of his second novel was staged in Serbian theater. His novel 'Obmana Boga' was translated to Spanish and Portuguese and his play 'Nomadi' to Catalan; his collection of stories 'Tragači' was translated to Macedonian. His works entered anthologies of Serbian literature in Italian, Czech, Hungarian and Slovenian language. He is a member of both Catalan and Serbian PEN Center. He is the youngest prose author presented in the latest edition of Jovan deretić's 'Short History of serbian Literature'. He lives in Zemun/Belgrade, Serbia.
“Mediterani” ('Mediterraneans', 2006)
“Šnit” ('Schnitt', 2007, 2008)
It it the year 1941 and famous Hugo Boss, who designed and styled black Allgemeine SS uniforms, is being left by his girlfriend, journalist Karen Frost. Out of business reasons, but also because she wants to forget the emotional breakdown of her love affair with the designer, she is leaving for Belgrade, Zemun – more precisely, a small town with a majority of Serbian population, but according to the German occupying forces’ division of the territory it became a part of Independent State of Croatia.
Tensions between Croatians and Serbs, the two biggest populations in the town, are growing more and more and Serbs are using the fact that Croatian militia (ustaše) is wearing “pseudoboss” uniforms and they mock them as bearers of counterfeit Allgemeine SS uniforms. That is the moment when Croatian ‘Big leader’, Ante Pavelić is calling upon Hugo Boss to come to Croatia and design the new uniforms specially for his soldiers. The Designer is choosing Zemun for the location of his studio so he could be near his ex-girlfriend Karen Frost. But, by that time she has already became involved with Novak Maričić, a member of Serbian nationalistic paramilitary organization and also a journalist. She doesn’t want to return to Boss nor to be his repeated inspiration for designing new uniforms for Croatian militia (her pretty but boyish, Teutonic figure he used as a model for Allgemeine SS uniforms). This is the reason why Boss is putting up a contest calling local models for audition which attracted many young men in Zemun. Anyway, he can’t find the inspiring model, but he discovers that these young men sexually attract him and he indulges himself in sex with few of them, both Serbs and Croats. In some way, he becomes the only person bringing a kind of tolerance between these two nations.
On the other side, Novak Maričić has a conflict with Karen Frost’s parents who are Nazi officers and also journalists. After he kills them, he is becoming a target of the search party which leads all the way to Chetnik headquarters in Ravna Gora. The search party consists of Germans, Croatian ustaše, and partisans; the leader of partisans is an under cover guerilla commander only five feet tall, so the Nazis, as ‘higher race’ just can’t see him.
In this dark-humored novel the several main characters are journalists, therefore each chapter represents an imitation of a certain newspaper style of writing an article (parts of the book are entitled ‘Report. Interview’, or ‘News’, etc, and the final part in which all the conflicts are being resolved is entitled ‘Love stories’, according to illustrated newspapers from 1930’s and 1940’s which contained a lot of literary supplements – all melodramatic). Therefore the book’s subtitle is ‘Tabloid Novel’.
Based on some historical facts this novel brings the history of the Balkans to absurdity, which is not very far from what it really is.