Book summary

Gospođica ebook review

Gospođica (The Woman from Sarajevo) by Andrić was originally published in 1945. and is one of the three novels that make up the "Bosnian Trilogy". The other two are Bosnian Chronicle and The Bridge on the Drina.

The novel is set in the cities of Sarajevo and Belgrade during the first three decades of this century. The places and time are not incidentally chosen. Ivo Andrić Gospođica (The Woman from Sarajevo) by Andrić was originally published in 1945. and is one of the three novels that make up the "Bosnian Trilogy". The other two are Bosnian Chronicle and The Bridge on the Drina.

The novel is set in the cities of Sarajevo and Belgrade during the first three decades of this century. The places and time are not incidentally chosen. Ivo Andrić is from Bosnia and knows the people and their problems in this unique area. The theme and composition suggest a work of modern classicism. It is the tragic life of a woman disappointed in people and in the world she lives in. She is completely enslaved by money, in which she hopes to find security and revenge in a hateful and insecure world. At the same time she is literally and feverishly following her bankrupt father’s last plea, as she becomes not only thrifty but a real miser in a classical Gogolian style.

This novel is dominated by a single character, a spinster named Miss Raika Radaković who is dominated by a single passion, stinginess. The development of this passion is traced through the first third of this century, from the time Miss Raika’s dying father, a ruined merchant, solemnly enjoins his school-girl-daughter to guard with her life the little property he can leave her, until some thirty-five years later when she herself dies, a scrawny old woman, unloved and unlovable, but faithful to her trust. As a moneylender she parlays small insurance legacy after her father into a small fortune. But whatever her wealth at any time, she will spend none of it on herself. For this single-minded greed for money she puts everything else out of her life – love, friendship, concern for other people.

Raika also speculates in currencies during the tumultuous years of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and the uncertain emergence of the new Yugoslav state. A good deal of the power of Andrić’s tale comes through the depiction of this seething historical background, in whose torrent the wretched Raika’s life is washed along like a piece of flotsam.

The novel is carefully thought out and fully imagined, with solid passages of description in the nineteenth-century manner and scrupulous attentions to the job of relating the individual life to the broader pattern of social and economical change. With brilliant economy Andrić sketches the stages through which Miss Raika hoards and increases her inheritance: Sarajevo in the era of provincial usury, the economic upheavals and disintegration of the First World War, staid Belgrade headily embarking on the jazz age when the war is over, the pinched depression years during which Miss Raika dies. The requisite drama – the testing of the ruling passion – is present in the form of a young man whose physical resemblance to a beloved uncle long dead touches Miss Raika’s heart enough to make her swerve, though only momentarily, from her objective of never parting with her money.

The chronicle is Andrić’s favorite form, and this novel is no exception, a highly poetic form depicting the past and the present in a meticulous artistic and philosophical manner. Detailed historical analysis serves as a “chain” and always gives a basis for philosophical interpretation.

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Danilo Ki  ebooks review

Danilo Ki

Ivan "Ivo" Andrić (Cyrillic: Иво Андрић) was a Yugoslav and Bosnian novelist, short story writer and Nobel prizewinner. His writings deal mainly with life in his native Bosnia under the Ottoman Empire. His house in Travnik is now a Museum. His Belgrade flat on Andrićev Venac hosts the Museum of Ivo Andrić and the Ivo Andrić Foundation.

After the Second World War, he spent most of his time in his Be Ivan "Ivo" Andrić (Cyrillic: Иво Андрић) was a Yugoslav and Bosnian novelist, short story writer and Nobel prizewinner. His writings deal mainly with life in his native Bosnia under the Ottoman Empire. His house in Travnik is now a Museum. His Belgrade flat on Andrićev Venac hosts the Museum of Ivo Andrić and the Ivo Andrić Foundation.

After the Second World War, he spent most of his time in his Belgrade home, held ceremonial posts in the Communist government of Yugoslavia and was a Bosnia and Herzegovina parliamentarian. He was also a member of the Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts.

In 1961, he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature "for the epic force with which he has traced themes and depicted human destinies drawn from the history of his country". He donated the prize money to libraries in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

His works include The Bridge on the Drina, Bosnian Chronicle (aka Chronicles of Travnik), and The Woman from Sarajevo. These were written during WW2 while he was living quietly in Belgrade and published in 1945. They are often referred to as the "Bosnian Trilogy" as they were published simultaneously and had been written in the same period. However, they're connected only thematically.

Other works include Ex Ponto (1918), Unrest (Nemiri, '20), The Journey of Alija Đerzelez (Put Alije Đerzeleza, 1920), The Vizier's Elephant (Priča o vezirovom slonu, 1948; tr. 1962), The Damned Yard (Prokleta avlija, 1954), and Omer-Pasha Latas (Omerpaša Latas, released posthumously in 1977)

Danilo Ki

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