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Articles tagged "Serbia"

Tito and Taxidermy, or What If Tito Had Been on Twitter?

“Furriers distinguish between a large number of varieties of fox fur in terms of color—red, purple, fiery, red guinea, fancy silver, and others.” —Svijet, 8 October 1965   1 In the year that Tito died, I rode my first donkey. A dead donkey, at that—or, to be more precise, one that had been preserved. The animal was on a wooden disk with wheels, and the man who was charging for the “rides” would push it around the beach among the well-oiled...

Boutique Cinderella

“Boutique Cinderella” had a stuffed pigeon in the window with its beak stuck into a pile of grain on the windowsill, and a female torso wrapped in a silk Dior peignoir; the designer could be read on the label sewn on the hem of the discreetly opened skirt. With its lace insets, the peignoir looked like a wedding gown. There was nothing on it that would make you conclude that it was used clothing, though a cardboard sign in the lower left corner of the display announced,...

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The Robot

No one was surprised by his arrival. There was nothing miraculous about seeing a robot walk in through the door, choose a table, push away chairs, and study the menu. He did all of it as adroitly and matter-of-factly as any other guest would. With his finger he indicated the Wiener schnitzel, and the waiter, not upset in the least, brought it to him. The robot skillfully cut up the meat into rather large pieces (knife in his right hand and fork in the left), poured wine into his glass,...

Learning Cyrillic

1. I leave the church at nine sharp. Outside it is a clear, winter night, the church steps are slippery, the cold air slices my breath. I move slowly; I grab for the frozen shrubbery. Next time, I say to myself, wear high-topped shoes. Then I spot the Indian. He is standing by a round traffic sign. He has on a leather jacket with long fringes, and he is wearing boots decorated with Indian symbols. As I am walking by him, I see his eyes are closed. "Hey," says the Indian, "what's the...

An Austro-Hungarian Guidebook

Novi Sad, Thursday afternoon, April 9, 1987 Energy and resourcefulness. These virtues have excited me lately, sending me into a pathological rapture, duping me into rashness and loss of self-respect. I'm sitting on a smugglers' bus, overcome with the contagious cheerfulness of the other travelers, their impatience as they face an adventure. They are in a realm of chattiness, of conspiratorial mirth. The Vegeta seasoning powder is in our baggage, heavy as cement but promising a...

It’s Not Time For . . .

It's not time for a change. As long as I can remember it's never been time for a change. Like cars that screech to a halt houses stand poised in their old breeding ground of rotten acacia leaves.From ribs that bulge like knots on a bundle of wet ropes a faint voice arises, crying, "choose!" Choose between memory and that peculiar stench. . . . Choose between clouds and earth. I tremble like a tree in a winter storm. I wait. I don't understand but I...

Games on the Banks of the Danube

Everybody knows you can't choose your place of birth, any more than you can select your parents. My birthplace is located on a body of water; human hands have altered and straightened the banks so many times that these waters are no longer referred to as a river, but rather a canal. This canal empties into the Tisza, and the Tisza flows into the Danube. My memories of the Danube begin in the summer of 1941. My parents, who had been so inept as to be Jews, were already under arrest...

from Silence Has Its Sound: Travels through Bosnia

Crossing the Serbian Republic's Border Most of the Republika Srpska border is made of garbage--it seems the whole town of Stolac brings its trash here. I meet three oncoming cars in fifty kilometers. The village of Malineja is marked on the German Automobile Club map, but the reality is that it's completely wiped out. Nature is a little too unspoiled for me, and so I turn up the music in the car full blast to remind me that there's a Somewhere Else. Lisbon, for instance,...

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