And Love Itself

And Love Itself

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By Drago Jančar

Translated by David Limon

ISBN: 9781628973488

Publication date: 6/14/22

The latest novel by likely the greatest living Slovenian writer.

After the occupation of Yugoslavia by German forces in 1941, the Slovenian city of Maribor, historically a German-speaking town with a large German minority, is annexed to the Third Reich. In the city renamed Marburg an der Drau, neighbors and friends of yesterday are torn apart and a resistance movement is organized in the surrounding hills.

The three characters at the heart of the novel, Valentin, a partisan resistance fighter, his girlfriend Sonja, and the SS officer Ludwig, once called Ludek, each try in their own way to defend their love from the senselessness of evil and the downfall of human dignity. The war upsets their perception of the world and of themselves and inevitably breaks their lives.

And Love Itself, the title taken from Lord Byron’s poem, is an astonishing tale of will and resilience of the human spirit against the backdrop of historical coincidences and tragedy. Jančar poses complex questions and exposes essential dilemmas faced by modern man in an expansive style that is interspersed with extraordinary lyrical interludes.

Reviews

"And Love Itself is not, as the title may suggest, a love story, nor is it a historical novel, it is first and foremost a novel about love. More than the story and the fate of a love and more than a story about war, in which love found itself, it is a novel of the solitary effort of an individual of how to protect this love and preserve it in spite of it all." -Delo

"A superb novel, both sensual and serious." -Le Figaro magazine

"The economy with which Jančar creates memorable characters and moments while never letting the reader forget the war, the tumult of Yugoslavia, or the incursion of communism is astonishing." -Kirkus Reviews, Starred Review for previous novel I Saw Her That Night

Biographical Information

Drago Jancar was born in 1948 in Maribor, Slovenia, and is one of the best-known Slovenian writers at home and abroad. After studying law, he worked as a journalist, editor, and a freelance writer, and traveled to both the US and Germany. As President of the Slovenian P.E.N. Centre (1987 – 1991), Jancar was engaged in the rise of democracy in Slovenia and Yugoslavia and has been described as “the seismologist of a chaotic history.” I Saw Her That Night won the Best Foreign Book Prize (Prix du meilleur livre etranger) in 2014 and the Kresnik Award for best novel of the year. In 2011 he was awarded the European Prize for Literature. His novels and short stories have been translated in several languages and his plays have been produced on many on American stages. He now lives in Ljubljana.

David Limon is an Englishman in Ljubljana, a translator, university teacher and researcher of intercultural communication. His literary translations include novels by Andrej Skubic, Boris Kolar and Evald Flisar, as well as short stories and other works by a broad range of writers, including Fran Levstik, Ivan Cankar, Janez Trdina, Vitomil Zupan, Mirana Likar Bajželj, Tadej Golob, Nina Kokelj and Janja Vidmar.