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Diary of Interrupted Days

— A novel about love and betrayal —

Cover of the "Diary of Interrupted Days"

Fiction, hardcover, 272 pages;
Random House Canada
ISBN: 978-0-307-35688-8 (0-307-35688-4)
Pub Date: March 10, 2009

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  • Diary was among the five books shortlisted for 2010 Toronto Book Awards. This prize was created to honour books of literary or artistic merit that are evocative of Toronto. The Jury said:
  • “A literary work of compassion and distinction.
    Todorovic's painfully sharp representation of the lives of three friends, torn apart by war in the Balkans, leads to their separation, isolation and loneliness.
    Todorovic's prose is strikingly elegant and compelling throughout the work.”

  • Diary is now available as an eBook. Be careful when purchasing, it’s not as simple as with the traditional books. You can buy it in the Sony store (EPUB format, which is open and rather universal, as almost any electronic reader on the market supports it—except Kindle), or on Amazon, as a Kindle version (AZW format, which, again, works only on Kindle). Yes, iPad supports EPUB. Finally, if you make a mistake, download Calibre and do the conversion.
  • Diary of Interrupted Days has been short listed for Commonwealth Writers’ Prize and it was a finalist for the Amazon First Novel Award.
  • At the end of the last year, Diary of Interrupted Days had found its way to two top lists of the best books of 2009. Jim Bartley, The Globe and Mail critic, had placed the book in his Top 5, and in Rover Writers’ Best Books writer David Homel mentioned Diary as his favourite among the books he had reviewed during the year. Also, Maylin Scott of the Dewey Divas and the Dudes portal picked it as one of her 3 favourite Canadian novels of 2009. Thanks to all of them!

  • I’ve finally caved in and opened a Facebook account. And I’ve been on Twitter from its early days. Novelists do like the limit of 140 signs. As a break, of course.

Reviews for Diary of Interrupted Days

Todorovic is after something more intriguing than the typical dramatic arc of war, dislocation, and memory. Like a postmodern visual artist, he uses a collage technique to deconstruct – without resorting to the distancing effects of deconstructivism – the linear narratives that we use to define and understand political and military conflicts, narratives that too often leave out the idiosyncracies and personal associations of the combatants and civilians on the ground. Diary of Interrupted Days bristles with the energy of those too-human personality tics, subjective reactions, and interpretations. [...] There are passages of unexpected beauty.

James Grainger, Quill & Quire, starred review (more)

The best fiction makes you feel there are no strangers. It affirms that inside you, in the purest, deepest, maybe scariest part, is a shared reservoir. This novel taps that core. If you recall Yugoslavia as a place made only more obscure by its media-spun death throes, Diary of Interrupted Days will unforgettably open you to its human face.

Jim Bartley, The Globe and Mail (more)

At its best, Diary of Interrupted Days is not only a poignant, intelligent look at people whose lives have been punctured by war and exile but a persuasive argument for the necessity of art during difficult times.

Kevin Chong, National Post

Dragan Todorovic’s debut novel is a compelling chronicle of rebellion, wreckage, and refuge, set amid the disintegration of Yugoslavia during the 1990s. [...] “There is no narrative of exile,” Boris reflects at one point. “It is a chopped-up existence.” The great success of Diary of Interrupted Days is to prove otherwise, rendering fragmented lives and complex conflict into an absorbing tale.

Jeremy Keehn, The Walrus (more)

Listen to the author reading“Most people believe that their endeavours define them. Their striving for something becomes a symbol of who they are. But that is only half of the picture. We search for some public grail to avoid a deeper, unconfessed compulsion. In some secret place in our memories, carefully covered, unlit, lies the truth about us: you are what you run away from.”

Listen to the author reading
(mp3, 6.2MB)

A lone man stands near a broken-down minibus on a bridge leading to Belgrade in the spring of 1999. He should be watching the skies for signs of NATO bombers, but instead he is transfixed by his reflection in the waters of the Danube, captured by the shadow bars of the bridge railing. He’s on the verge of a homecoming he never predicted, and his mind has turned inexorably to all the things an exile tries to forget.

The people he works with back in Canada think he’s tormented by the destruction of the country he loved, the death of the father he has come home to bury. But the man on the bridge knows better. All of the horrible political things, which he and his best friend, Johnny, used to protest so artfully on the streets of Belgrade back in the early nineties, pale in comparison to the fact that the dismemberment of his homeland created an opportunity for a personal betrayal that haunts him still. War was this man’s opportunity to steal happiness from his best friend—with a very good chance that he would never be caught, not even by Sara, Johnny’s girlfriend, who ended up marrying him instead.
But lies, even artful lies, told by someone who has tried to incinerate the past, have a way of catching up with you. As the man on the bridge is about to find out…

Dragan Todorovic’s novel explores how people hang onto their humanity in the insanity of war—and also how people attempt to construct new lives after such insanity has rocked them, how the state of exile encourages lies and false nostalgia and false patriotism. Exile is a minefield of its own, but for a gifted, perhaps noble, few, second chances do exist that allow them to rise from the ashes of their old lives.

—Publisher's copy



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