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The Son follows one night in the life of a hero with no name, a writer whose life is on the verge of falling apart. One fateful afternoon, his wife leaves him and his long-term conflict with his father, who blames our hero for his mother’s death, comes to a head. Incapable of finding inner calm he steps into the warm Mediterranean night that has fallen in the city of Ulcinj, itself a multilayered mixture of European dimensions, African influences and the communist past. On his journey into the night, the writer meets an assortment of characters: a piano student from Vienna who has abandoned his musical career and converted to Islam, a radical Christian preacher and a group of refugees from Kosovo. In the style of Mihail Bulgakov, the characters meet in the old city of Ulcinj at the dramatically named Square of the Slaves. The Son is the first in Nikolaidis’s ‘doomed generation’ trilogy (a metaphor for the lost generation of the Yugoslav war). Mittel-European in feel, influenced by Camus’s The Stranger, Nikolaidis explores the themes of family connections and abandonment.
The Son was awarded the EUROPEAN LITERATURE PRIZE in 2011
160 pages – Original language: Bosnian (OKF) – Rights Sold: Polish (RM Publishing, 2020), Danish (Jensen & Dalgaard), German (Voland & Quist), English (Istros Books), Slovak (Slovart), Hungarian (Gondolat), Turkish (Versus Kitap), Finnish (Mansarda), Bulgarian (Balkani 93), Macedonian (Ikona), Italian (Besa)
In a small town on the Adriatic coast, a local detective is content to sacrifice truth for the sake of telling his clients the stories they want to hear. The Coming reads at first like a traditional detective novel, then suddenly changes form with the advent of snow in mid-summer. When the town library burns down under mysterious circumstances the detective’s long-lost son begins to get involved in the investigations from afar. With excursions into history and tales of the lives of Fra Dolcino, a medieval heretic who announced the return of the Messiah and of Sabbatai Zevi, a Renaissance cabalist, who maintained that he himself was the Messiah, we dive into a world of unsolved mysteries of both past and present. Firmly set in an atmosphere of impending apocalypse (floods, a snow storm) where aspects of Christianity collide with otherworldly presences, The Comingwas the second in Nikolaidis’s ‘doomed generation’ trilogy (a metaphor for the lost generation of the Yugoslav war). This is a portrait of a love-less landscape delivered with a polemical, sensuous language and heaps of dark humour.
110 pages – Original language: Bosnian (OKF) – Rights Sold: Italian (Besa ,2018); German (Voland & Quist); English (Istros Books); Slovak (Slovart); Hungarian (Gondolat); Turkish (Versus Kitap); Albanian (Om Publishing); Serbian (Levo Krilo)
A cynical local reporter must tackle his most important story: to find out the true identity of the grandmother who brought him up and the mother who supposedly died giving birth to him. Suddenly, the past he has called his own turns out to be a complete fabrication: from the stories of his parents to the photos in the family albums. So starts the most important investigation the reporter has ever undertaken, one in which the main suspect is the mother he never knew. Crazy though it may seem, it appears that the woman who gave birth to him was actually one of an elite band of trained killers employed by the Yugoslav Secret Services to liquidate political opponents abroad, and his entire childhood the carefully orchestrated plan of this same organisation. Our hero’s journey will take him to the site of wartime atrocities and on the trail of fake suicides across Europe. Through his own unique and now recognizable style mixing humor, a detective plot, apocalyptic weather, Christian mystics, family abandonments and mittel-european references, Nikolaidis takes us into a world of criminal intrigue and existential dilemmas.
“Till Kingdom Come is a compulsively readable mixture of humour and dark fate, Nikolaidis bitterly explodes all Balkan post-Communist myths. After reading it, you will hate life, but in an immensely happy way!” – Slavoj Žižek
160 pages – Original language: Bosnian (OKF) – Rights Sold: Italian (Besa ,2019); English (Istros Books), German (Voland & Quist), Hungarian (Gondolat), Albanian (OM Publishing)
The Hungarian Sentence (2017)
The Hungarian Sentence is a novel written in one sentence, long and meandering like the Danube. It is the story about a strange and passionate friendship between Joe, a genius writer, a refugee from Bosnia to the Montenegrin coastal city of Ulcinj, and his rich, successful, but much less talented Montenegrin friend, also a writer. The Montenegrin writer and narrator, is traveling from Budapest to Vienna by train, after attending the funeral of his friend who seemingly committed suicide in Budapest. As he travels, he reflects on Joe’s death, an act of moral rebellion against the demise of humanity – in many ways connected with that of his obsessive interest, the German philosopher Walter Benjamin who committed suicide when his attempt to escape Nazi Europe failed. The train enters the Austrian capital with the narrator ready to sell what the contents of his briefcase: the fabled Walter Benjamin’s lost manuscript, only this is the one written by his dead friend. Nikolaidis brings up Syrian refugees at the Hungarian border, political correctness as a tool of denying fear and mistrust of one another, and faceless EU bureaucracy as a tool for the disempowering of citizens. With conspiracy theories, apocalyptical innuendos and mittel-european references, The Hungarian Sentence is thus a comment on the predicament of man in the liberal world, and the bewildering crisis of choice that results in a spiritual paralysis.
90 pages – Original language: Bosnia – Herzegovina (Buybook, 2017), Montenegro (OKF, 2017) – Rights Sold: Croatia (Jesenski i Turk, 2017), Germany (Voland & Quist, 2017), Serbia (KPZ Beton, 2017), Slovenian (Lud , Šerpa, 2018), Hungarian (Gondolat, 2019)