Friday, March 31, 2006

Pekić's Early Life and First Novels

For years Pekić had been working on several novels and when the first of them, Vreme čuda (1965), came out, it caught the attention of a wide reading audience as well as the critics. In 1976 it was published in English as The Time of Miracles. It was also translated into French and Polish in 1986, Rumanian 1987 and in Italian 2004. I is now been translated in Greek. Pekić’s first novel clearly announced two of the most important characteristics of his work: his sharp anti-dogmatism and his eternal skepticism regarding any possible ‘progress’ mankind has achieved in the course of history.

During the years 1968-1969 Pekić was one of the editors of the literary magazine "Književne Novine". In 1970 his second novel, Hodočašće Arsenija Njegovana (The Pilgrimage of Arsenije Negovan) was published, in which an echo of the students protests of 1968 in Yugoslavia can be found. Despite his ideological distance from the mainstream opposition movements of the student’s protests, the new political climate further complicated his relationship with the authorities, who refused him a passport for a year. The novel, nevertheless, won the "NIN" award for the best Yugoslav novel of the year. An English translation The Houses of Belgrade appeared in 1978 and it was later published in Polish, Czech and Rumanian in 1985.

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