Translation from NER 35.2.
All around, as far as the eye could see, stretched a garden of ravishing beauty. The road first wound between rows of larches, and then red oaks prevailed, and then, in perfect harmony, in a fireworks of form, the wholes were interchanged, skillfully joined by bends of brushwood and low, shrubby vegetation. One could hardly take a step without this next angle of observation giving rise to some new delight. From the primeval lichens, tranquil mosses, stubborn mistletoes, and trembling ferns in the hollows, through the young ivy and mighty trunks, to the round, pyramidal, branchy, conical, sadly drooping and bushy outlines of the treetops. Isolated here and there. Then grouped in small clusters of birch or conifer. Divided by forked trails of settled dust . . .
Solitary, disheveled English oaks—on grassy plateaus swarming with mushroom caps. Then pastures, gentle slopes edged by wild blackberry bushes and low walls of dry-stacked stone, overgrown with creepers of ivy. Quite unexpectedly—steeper inclines and endemic flora nestled against bare, blanched rocks, as in the Alps. In seemingly carelessly arranged contours, but always in such a way that the shady side never encroached on the sunny, so that each blade of grass had sufficient light and cool . . .
—translated from the Serbian by Peter Agnone
Goran Petrovic has published dozens of books, including five collections of short stories, three novels, several plays, a book of essays, and a novella. His books have been translated into more than sixteen languages and have been adapted for theater, television, and radio. His awards include the NIN Award for the Novel of the Year, the Ivo Andrić Award for the Book of Short Stories of the Year, and the National Library of Serbia Award for the Most Read Book of the Year. He is the member of the Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts and the Serbian PEN Centre. The novel excerpted in this issue of NER has been published in sixteen languages other than English, including French, German, Spanish, Italian, Dutch, Polish, and Russian.
Peter Agnone (1948–2011) studied Serbian at the University of Pittsburgh and visited the former Yugoslavia numerous times. He translated David Albahari’s novel Bait (2001) as part of the Northwestern University Press Writings from an Unbound Europe series, and was nominated for the 2003 American Association of Teachers of Slavic and Eastern European Languages book prize. He also translated short stories by Goran Petrović, Vidosav Stevanović, and Mihajlo Pantić, which appeared in The Man Who Ate Death: An Anthology of Contemporary Serbian Stories (2006), and completed a translation of Petrović’s novel The Sixty-Nine Drawers before he died in 2011.