Drndić has assembled an angry scrapbook of searing memories, horror, and loss. For the Holocaust’s victims, there is no hope; for its perpetrators, there is no punishment. Trieste’s originality lies not just in its structure and forceful, unflinching imagery—translator Elias-Bursać deserves acclaim as well—but also in how it brings the lingering effects of the Nazis’ merciless racial policies forward into the present. Here the past doesn’t lie dormant and forgotten but is a cancer that can poison us from within.
Trieste was published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt in January ($27, hardcover, 368pp); MacLehose Press is the UK publisher. Ellen Elias-Bursać's masterful translation from Drndić's original Croatian is a work of art in itself. In 2013, Trieste won the Independent Foreign Fiction Readers' Prize, which honors both the author and the translator. This review first appeared in Booklist's November 15th issue.