The Ministry of Pain by Dubravka Ugresic
(2006 First Edition Hardcover)
Publisher: Ecco Press
SYNOPSIS: Abandoned by her husband in Berlin after being forced into exile by the violent breakup of Yugoslavia, Tanja Lucic seeks sanctuary in the Department of Slavonic Language at the University of Amsterdam, where she and her fellow displaced students struggle to confront their traumatic memories of their homeland. By the author of The Museum of Unconditional Surrender.
The Ministry of Pain tells the story of Tanja Lucic, an exile from Yugoslavia and a lecturer in Serbo-Croatian literature at the University of Amsterdam. Her class is filled with other Yugoslav exiles, not much younger than she, who have found temporary refuge in the Department of Slavonic Languages. Rather than teach literature, Tanja prods the students to reconstruct their pasts by writing essays that indulge their "Yugonostalgia" and their memories of Yugoslavia's culture and disintegration in war. Meanwhile, Tanja and her student Igor form a dangerously close relationship that threatens to unleash all the tensions of life in exile. With her sharp and melancholy observations, Dubravka Ugresic illuminates with savage compassion our shared human homelessness. 257 pages
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