Saturday, January 17, 2015

Hidden Camera - Zoran Živković

349654You come home from work & find an unmarked white envelope, you open it and are invited to a film screening that night, do you go?

This is how Hidden Camera starts.

The narrator goes to the screening to find that only one other person is there for the viewing. As the film progresses he comes to realise that it is him on the screen sitting on a bench eating his lunch, and that a rather beautiful women who joins him on the bench, is the other individual at the screening.

End of film lights go down.

The women vanishes replaced by another unmarked envelope, inviting him to a second-hand bookshop.
This becomes a series of increasingly bizarre journeys involving a zoo, a sewer, a churchyard & a hospital, each with its set scene that the narrator attempts to fathom meaning from. This is a strange book, but strange in an ordinary way, by this I mean that for all the bizarre happening's within its pages you except it all, as does this book's protagonist, making this appear as though a dream and yet despite this nothing revealed is certain -  all is down to perspective, as if viewed from a different angle a different dance/dancer would appear.

Making this tale a cerebral one, by which I mean that it is predominantly of the mind & if I go back to the perspectives idea, seen from a different angle the narrator is just a lab rat sent around some arcane maze on the whim of some scientist with no intent to answer any questions, in fact it not even to formulate them, leaving any questioning/ interpretation to you as you follow this journey that may only exist within the mind of the narrator , he is your only reference point and an insecure neurotic one at that, none of which assists you in the interpretation of this book. Although to be fair, this is of little concern as you turn the pages readily investing your time in hope of divining some meaning from this mystery, or your way out of this maze.

Zoran Živković
Zoran Živković ( Зоран Живковић) born October 5, 1948 is a writer, university professor, essayist, researcher, publisher and translator from Belgrade, Serbia. He has won several literary awards for his fiction. In 1994 his novel The Fourth Circle won the "Miloš Crnjanski" Award. In 2003, Živković's mosaic novel The Library won a World Fantasy Award for Best Novella. In 2007 his novel The Bridge won the "Isidora Sekulić" Award. In 2007 Živković received the "Stefan Mitrov Ljubiša" Award for his life achievement in literature.

In 2005, Belgrade TV station Studio B produced The Collector (Sakupljač) TV series, based upon Živković's mosaic novel Twelve Collections.

In 2007, notable Serbian film author Puriša Đorđević directed the film Two (Dva), based on Živković's fictional themes.

Two of Živković's stories were produced as radio broadcasts by the BBC: "The Train" (2005) and "Alarm Clock on the Night Table" (2007).

The prestigious US literary magazine World Literature Today brought a special section on Živković's writing in the November/December 2011 issue.

Since 2007 Živković has been a professor in the Faculty of Philology at the University of Belgrade where he teaches Creative Writing. (Wikipedia)(Wikipedia)


Brian Joseph said...

I tend to like strange and enigmatic stories.

I do find that if they are too murky and I am unable to make any heads or tails out of them I do get little frustrated.

This does indeed sound like an odd one.

@parridhlantern said...

Hi Brian.

This fits "Strange & Enigmatic" but doesn't leave you frustrated more likely with a grin on your face as you follow the protagonist on his dreamlike journey

James said...

I love intelligent and enigmatic stories and you really got me when you mentioned cerebral. I will have to read up about this author. Now, where did I put that issue of WLT?
Thanks for a great review.