My Father?s Books

Paperback | July 16, 2012

byLuan StarovaTranslated byChristina E. Kramer

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In My Father’s Books, the first volume in Luan Starova’s multivolume Balkan Saga, he explores themes of history, displacement, and identity under three turbulent regimes—Ottoman, Fascist, and Stalinist—in the twentieth century. Weaving a story from the threads of his parents’ lives from 1926 to 1976, he offers a child’s-eye view of personal relationships in shifting political landscapes and an elegiac reminder of the enduring power of books to sustain a literate culture.
    Through lyrical waves of memory, Starova reveals his family’s overlapping religious, linguistic, national, and cultural histories. His father left Constantinople as the Ottoman Empire collapsed, and the young family fled from Albania to Yugoslav Macedonia when Luan was a boy. His parents, cosmopolitan and well-traveled in their youth, and steeped in the cultures of both Orient and Occident, find themselves raising their children in yet another stagnant and repressive state. Against this backdrop, Starova remembers the protected spaces of his childhood—his mother’s walled garden, his father’s library, the cupboard holding the rarest and most precious of his father’s books. Preserving a lost heritage, these books also open up a world that seems wide, deep, and boundless.

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In My Father’s Books, the first volume in Luan Starova’s multivolume Balkan Saga, he explores themes of history, displacement, and identity under three turbulent regimes—Ottoman, Fascist, and Stalinist—in the twentieth century. Weaving a story from the threads of his parents’ lives from 1926 to 1976, he offers a child’s-eye view of per...

Luan Starova is a novelist, poet, scholar, diplomat, and literary translator. An Albanian from the Republic of Macedonia who writes in both the Albanian and Macedonian languages, he has served as the Republic of Macedonia’s ambassador to France, Spain, and Portugal, and was formerly professor of French at the University of Skopje. His ...

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:136 pages, 8.25 × 5.5 × 0.7 inPublished:July 16, 2012Publisher:University Of Wisconsin PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0299287947

ISBN - 13:9780299287948

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Extra Content

Table of Contents

Translator's Note

Part One

1 My Father, Our Family, the Books

    Love

    The Fate of the Books

    Differences

    The Garden

    The Fountain

    The Balcony

    The Cabinet

    Identity

    The Life of the Books

    The Death of the Manuscript

    A Secret

    Learning about the Deities

    My Father's Fatherlands

    My Father's Languages

    My Father's Dictionaries

    The Radio

    Old Age

2 The Books and My Father's Friends

    Eastern Dream and Western Dream

    Friends

    Autodidacts

    Libraries

    A Boarder in Babel

    Language Quarrels

    Balkan Babel

    A Choice

    Sacrifice for Books

    The End of Time

    The Books in One's Life

3 Father's Books, Migrations, Stalinism, the Balkan Wall

    The Spyglass

    The Globe

    The Family Clock

    Travel

    The Bomb

    Flags

    The Mother Tongue

    The Holy Books

    Dreams of a Lost Time

    The Power of Languages

    Rakija and Meze

    The Taste of the Dough

    Holiday Tikush

    Stalin's Portrait

    Shock Workers

    The Silver Mirror

    The Medal

    Holiday

    Ration Books

    A Coin in the Trevi Fountain

    La Rinascente

    The Balkan Wall

    Prayer

    Tears

Part Two

1 The Margins of My Father's Books: The Constantinople Dream, In Search of Lost Time

    The Third Exit

    The True Path

    At a Crossroads in the Labyrinth

    Between Constantinople Heaven and Balkan Hell

    Mission

    The Game of Defeat and Victory

    Janissary Fate

    The Key of Destiny

    The Waves of Illusions

    The Debt to Time

    Between East and West

    The Dream of the Sea

    Holidays in Defeats

    Lost

    Tattered Fate

    Bartering with Fate

    The Dream of the Books

    The Eastern Sword of Damocles

    The Fedora

2 Time Discovered

    Documents I

    Documents II

    Documents III

    The Meaning of the Silence

    The Documents (Epilogue)

Perhaps the Real Ending

    A Borrowed Book

Editorial Reviews

“Powerful, articulate, subtle, and moving, My Father’s Books goes beyond the genre of memoir—it is at once a meditation on life and a history of the Balkans in the twentieth century told from a unique point of view with universal values. Kramer’s translation renders Starova’s language with accuracy and grace.”—Victor A. Friedman, University of Chicago