Miljenko Jergović: Dvori od oraha (Walnut Mansion)

The latest addition to my website is Miljenko Jergović‘s Dvori od oraha (Walnut Mansion). This novel follows the story of the entire life of Regina Delavale, who lives ninety-seven years, from 1905 to 2002. However, Jergović has opted to tell it back-to-front, i.e. starting with her death and ending the novel with her birth. She is the only girl of the family, with five younger brothers and lives through the troubled times of her region, the former Yugoslavia. Though she is the eldest, she outlives her brothers, all of whom, as does she, have unpleasant deaths, with three killed in wars, one in the Spanish flu epidemic and one dying in an asylum, suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, because of the war. Jergović gives us a host of colourful stories about Regina, her relatives and some key people she comes into contact with, all of whom are witnesses to and often victims of the troubled times in the region. This is certainly an interesting way of giving a history of a traumatic century for Yugoslavia and its previous and successor states.

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