Reviews for The Book of Revenge
While building the stories of odd and endearing characters, Todorovic slyly slips in information about the history of Yugoslavia, and the country's march toward war. Few non-fiction writers can handle their material with lightness as well as depth. Todorovic can. I hope the non-fiction prizes don't overlook this fantastic memoir.
—Marianne Apostolides, Women’s Post
The Book of Revenge will not be the last book to be written about the darkness that descended over the Balkans after Tito’s death. But it is easily one of the best.
—The Sun Times
One of Todorovic's big heroes was Jimmy Hendrix, and it is hard not to think of Hendrix's own brand of blazing blues running through the book. [...] Clearly, Todorovic is an exceptional creative writer, but he is also an excellent reporter. In my mind, a record of a culture is preserved mainly through the arts, and Yugoslavia couldn't have asked for a more faithful recorder.
—Diana Adams, The Edmonton Journal
It’s a wonderfully told tale. In addition to being a skilled journalist, Todorovic is also a musician and poet, and his memoir delivers keen-eyed reportage with impeccable pacing and the occasional flight of dark fantasy.
—Alexander Varty, Georgia Straight
Todorovic's splendid memoir is a look-back-in-sadness at his once and former country, a country that haunts him still.
—Douglas J. Johnston, Winnipeg Free Press
Though he's still in his 40s, his life seems to have encompassed centuries of change, and his boyhood is a wonderfully strange mix of wet nurses, Wild West fantasies, rote recitations of revolutionary heroics and elaborate smuggling expeditions...
—John Allemang, The Globe and Mail
He's a poet, a bold journalist, a beatnik [...] Great detail and marvelous language [...] The book brings out with astonishing clarity the avant-garde art scene in Belgrade.
—Peter Moreira, National Post [featured book]
His strengths [are] above all a kind of sardonic resignation, mixed with an appealing refusal to take either himself or anyone else too seriously, and a fine eye for the ridiculous. Todorovic is something of a specialist in the deadpan put-down.[...] The Book of Revenge presents an intensely polemical account of the break-up of Yugoslavia along with the engaging memoir.
—David Rieff, The Globe and Mail [featured book]
His memoir [is] interspersed with poetic riffs.
—Philip Marchand, Toronto Star [featured book]
His memoir is a primer on what happened in that afflicted corner of Europe as it spiralled into war. It's a highly personal account, often even darkly comic, but balanced in its approach. It is ultimately a very sad book, a lament on what was lost and what might have been.
—Marc Horton, The Edmonton Journal [excerpt from an interview]
darkly comic recollection of a country that no
longer exists, and a lyrical examination of the
importance of taking a stand when it counts. Set
against a backdrop of horrific world events, this
is narrative non-fiction at its best.
To a young boy growing up poor but happy in an industrial town in Serbia, politics
means many national holidays that result in parades, piglets roasting on a spit,
and getting to see both his hard-working parents at the same time. An observant
child, Dragan Todorovic quickly learns the power of words. Even before he can
read or write, he is mesmerized by the squiggles made by the grownups around
him and diligently recreates them in the notebooks he carries with him always.
He also learns that reciting naughty limericks usually yields some chocolate.
This love of words eventually takes Dragan to Belgrade, as editor for a cultural
magazine. He hopes to inspire and support the young and innovative artists of
the time, but soon discovers that naughty articles do not yield the same results
as limericks, and he finds himself constantly clashing with the system. His many
questions get only one answer: he is drafted into the army.
Dragan survives his tour of duty, but his return to Belgrade is unsettling. Everything
is changing, rapidly. Friendships are collapsing, conversations are guarded,
nothing is as it seems. Bit by bit, the country he knows and loves is being torn
Filled with great characters and poignant and often hilarious stories, The
Book of Revenge is a superb duet of a citizen and his country, a universal
exploration of just what it is that inoculates the human spirit from dangerous
ideologies and toxic nationalism.
Deleted scenes, cast, soundtrack,
Just a little more to thank
you for coming here.
Click here [opens
a new window].
To give you a taste of the book, I
have recorded myself reading a few samples. They
are all in mp3 format, and the files are ready
for importing into your iTunes, or to be consumed
on any kind of portable player out there. Try clicking
directly on the links to hear them, and if you
have problems, then right-click and save the files
on your computer.
on the Street (Tito is coming)
In November 1970, Tito's visit to
my hometown was announced. Everyone was supposed
to welcome the Yugoslav leader. This passage
tells of the preparations in my primary school
on the morning of his visit.
[mp3, 128, 7.1 MB]
During the war in ex-Yugoslavia,
a series of recipes started circulating among
the Serbian women. They turned our humble homes
into palaces of hedonistic kings, but...
[mp3, 128, 4.7 MB]
...And, when everything was over,
sometimes in 1995, this was how I felt.
[mp3, 128, 6.3 MB]