Blesok no. 66, May-June, 2009
Making a Dog Laugh – selected reviews
Nasmijati psa (Making a Dog Laugh), 132 pp., AGM, Croatia 2006
Nasmijati psa is a collection of twenty-two short stories of different genres that deal with seemingly ordinary themes such as relationships between men and women, fringe groups, growing up, love, sickness, ageing and death. Savičević tells her stories with a casual precision, with sensitivity and sometimes spite, often with surprising turns or poetic flourishes, but she is always a master of observation. Ultimately there is a lot more to these “ordinary” stories than meets the eye.
Olja Savičević 's stories are alive with an impulse of irony, but this anarchy is not abrasive, bitter and subversive but imaginative and optimistic – by all means closer to hedonistic joie de vivre than pessimistic fatalism.
A colourful and bold book by a daring, imaginative author. The boisterous and unbridled style, vibrant with emotion, is topped off by many a beautiful ending. You put her down, glowing, and think: Wow! That's what you call literature.
The Croatian writer Olja Savičević enshrouds our senses with her captivating short stories about breast cancer, anorexia and enslavement. She does not deliberately evoke the gravity of these issues, yet they creep into our consciousness. Suddenly we lost in this mesmerising mist and cannot escape. Nor do we want to.
The young Croatian writer Olja Savičević delves into human destinies and worlds with an easy style and exuberant fantasy. Her stories are neither arbitrary nor bloodless, and her passionate imagination makes each of them a unique experience.
The slim collection Making a Dog Laugh is the first book of prose by the Croatian newcomer Olja Savičević, and a real discovery. The author gives gentle poetic insights into a country and a young generation that have been shell-shocked by the war and take refuge in a world of dreams and altered states. This is a masterful work – brief and compact, full of absurd events encapsulated in keenly observed imagery.
Olja Savičević portrays the generation that grew up in her home town of Split after the wars in ex-Yugoslavia. She writes with enchanting ease, yet shadows of the recent past are lurking between the lines.
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