Ivo Andrić (1892–1975) is a major twentieth-century European writer, winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature 1961.
Set mainly in his native Bosnia, the stories and novella collected here reflect Andrić’s overwhelming love of storytelling. Vivid, intensely suggestive and often disturbing, Andrić’s stories draw on legend, myth, archetype and symbol to reveal universal patterns of behaviour.
Andrić lived through the turbulent first half of the twentieth century, with its two world wars and extremes of revolution and totalitarianism. The wisdom that informs his work is tempered from that brutal reality. A diplomat, he served across Europe, including Nazi Berlin, but it was in Bosnia that he experienced most clearly the destructive power of the arbitrary divisions between people and their potential for violent conflict, often in the name of ideas remote from their daily lives. At its best, when not disturbed by the interests of politicians, such a mixed society can offer the most positive image of conciliation and cooperation. Andrić’s clear-sighted acknowledgement of the human capacity for evil, however, gives his voice a tragically prophetic authority.