A Spare Life
Lidija Dimkovska (Author) Christina E. Kramer (Translator)
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DescriptionZlata and Srebra are 12-year-old twins conjoined at the head. It is 1984 and they live in Skopje, which will one day be the capital of Macedonia but is currently a part of Yugoslavia. A Spare Life tells the story of their childhood, from their only friend Roze to their neighbor Bogdan, so poor that he one day must eat his pet rabbit. Treated as freaks and outcasts--even by their own family--the twins just want to be normal girls. But after an incident that almost destroys their bond as sisters, they fly to London, determined to be surgically separated. Will this be their liberation, or only more tightly ensnare them? At once extraordinary and quotidian, A Spare Life is a chronicle of two girls who are among the first generation to come of age under democracy in Eastern Europe. Written in touching prose by an author who is also a master poet, it is a saga about families, sisterhood, immigration, and the occult influences that shape a life. Funny, poignant, dark, and sharply observed, Zlata and Srebra reveal an existence where even the simplest of actions is unlike any we've ever experienced.
Two Lines Press
October 11, 2016
4.9 X 1.3 X 7.9 inches | 1.3 pounds
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About the Author
Lidija Dimkovska is the recipient of numerous awards, including the 2013 European Union Prize for Literature for A Spare Life. She is also the author of the poetry collection pH Neutral History (Copper Canyon Press, 2012), which was a finalist for the 2013 Best Translated Book Award, and Do Not Awaken Them With Hammers (Ugly Duckling Presse, 2006). She lives in Ljubljana, Slovenia. Christina E. Kramer is a professor of Slavic and Balkan languages and linguistics at the University of Toronto. She is the author of numerous books on the Macedonian language and the Balkans and is the translator of Freud's Sister, The Time of the Goats, and My Father's Books. She lives in Toronto.
"[A] kaleidoscopic, bighearted novel" -- Publishers Weekly "A Spare Life uses the boldest of metaphors - the life of conjoined twins - to embody the disintegration of the former Yugoslavia. This strange and wonderful novel brings to mind Elena Ferrante and Magda Szabó in the acuity of its social observation and the depth of its mordant humor." -- Katie Kitamura, author of The Longshot and A Separation "Dimkovska has an eye for detail befitting of a poet and the stark, unrelenting prose of a master storyteller. A Spare Life is a weird and wonderful book, capturing the quirk and complexity of both a declining Yugoslavia, and the inseparable lives of two sisters with clarity, wit, and heart." -- Sara Novic, author of Girl at War, finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize "Lidija Dimkovska enriches our contemporary museum of literary wonders with her powerful, grotesque, weird details and episodes told within the merry old novelistic tradition." -- Dubravka Ugresic, author of Baba Laid an Egg "The truth is she's unstoppable and will not be ignored." -- the Poetry Foundation "English-language readers would be poorer without [her]." -- Publishers Weekly "The direst laugh-out-loud sense of humor around . . . transcendent, dizzying, and not to be missed." -- Boston Review