Translated from the Croatian by Marina Veverec
Initial Coordinates meditates on Monika Herceg’s earliest childhood memories in a small rural village near Petrinja in central Croatia as war breaks out in the 1990s. This magical realist novel in verse explores the history of a family through how they endure the overall decline of village life. Drawing directly on Slavic mythology, this bold, unforgettable work mimics oral traditions, reflecting the people who helped shape Herceg’s voice and perspective, one very much rooted in the resilience of nature’s rhythms.
Monika Herceg, born in 1990, is a Croatian poet, a physics student, and an editor at the Fraktura publishing house as well as at the Croatian journal Poezija (Poetry), published by the Croatian Writers’ Society. She is the author of three poetry collections, including the widely acclaimed Početne koordinate (Initial Coordinates, SKUD Ivan Goran Kovačić, 2018), Lovostaj (Closed Season, Jesenski i Turk, 2019), and Vrijeme prije jezika (The Time Before the Tongue, Fraktura, 2020). She has received more than ten national prizes, most notably the Goran for Young Poets and the Fran Galović Prize. Most recently, her play Gdje se kupuju nježnosti (Where to Buy Tenderness) was awarded by the Croatian National Theater in Zagreb. Her poems, plays, and short stories have been translated into more than fifteen languages, including English, French, Italian, Greek, and German. She is currently writing her first novel.