The Ministry of Pain

The Ministry of Pain Having fled the violent breakup of Yugoslavia Tanja Lucic is now a professor of literature at the University of Amsterdam where she teaches a class filled with other young Yugoslav exiles most of w

  • Title: The Ministry of Pain
  • Author: Dubravka Ugrešić Michael Henry Heim
  • ISBN: 9780060825850
  • Page: 467
  • Format: Paperback
  • Having fled the violent breakup of Yugoslavia, Tanja Lucic is now a professor of literature at the University of Amsterdam, where she teaches a class filled with other young Yugoslav exiles, most of whom earn meager wages assembling leather and rubber SM clothing at a sweatshop they call the Ministry Abandoning literature, Tanja encourages her students to indulge tHaving fled the violent breakup of Yugoslavia, Tanja Lucic is now a professor of literature at the University of Amsterdam, where she teaches a class filled with other young Yugoslav exiles, most of whom earn meager wages assembling leather and rubber SM clothing at a sweatshop they call the Ministry Abandoning literature, Tanja encourages her students to indulge their Yugonostalgia in essays about their personal experiences during their homeland s cultural and physical disintegration But Tanja s act of academic rebellion incites the rage of one renegade member of her class and pulls her dangerously close to another which, in turn, exacerbates the tensions of a life in exile that has now begun to spiral seriously out of control.

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    About "Dubravka Ugrešić Michael Henry Heim"

    1. Dubravka Ugrešić Michael Henry Heim

      Dubravka Ugre i earned her degrees in Comparative Literature, Russian Language and Literature at the University of Zagreb, and worked for twenty years at the Institute for Theory of Literature at Zagreb University, successfully pursuing parallel careers as a writer and a literary scholar.She started writing professionally with screenplays for children s television programs, as an undergraduate In 1971 she published her first book for children Mali plamen, which was awarded a prestigious Croatian literary prize for children s literature Ugresic published two books Filip i Srecica, 1976 Kucni duhovi, 1988 , and then gave up writing for children.As a literary scholar Dubravka Ugre i was particularly interested in Russian avant garde culture She was a co editor of the international scholarly project Pojmovnik ruske avangarde, A Glossary of the Russian Avangarde for many years She rediscovered forgotten Russian writers such as Konstantin Vaginov and Leonid Dobychin, and published a book on Russian contemporary fiction Nova ruska proza, 1980 She translated fiction into Croatian from Russian Boris Pilnyak, Gola godina Daniil Kharms, Nule i nistice , and edited anthologies of both Russian contemporary Pljuska u ruci, 1989 and avant garde writing.Dubravka Ugre i was best known in the former Yugoslavia for her fiction, novels and short stories Poza za prozu, 1978 Stefica Cvek u raljama zivota, 1981 Zivot je bajka, 1983 Forsiranje romana reke, 1988 Her novel Forsiranje romana reke was given the coveted NIN award for the best novel of the year Ugre i was the first woman to receive this honor Croatian film director Rajko Grlic made a film U raljama zivota 1984 based on Ugre i s short novel Stefica Cvek u raljama zivota Ugre i co authored the screenplay, as she did with screenplays for two other movies and a TV drama.In 1991, when the war broke out in the former Yugoslavia, Ugre i took a firm anti nationalistic stand and consequently an anti war stand She started to write critically about nationalism both Croatian and Serbian , the stupidity and criminality of war, and soon became a target of the nationalistically charged media, officials, politicians, fellow writers and anonymous citizens She was proclaimed a traitor , a public enemy and a witch , ostracized and exposed to harsh and persistent media harassment She left Croatia in 1993.Dubravka Ugre i has continued writing since she began living abroad She has published both novels Muzej bezuvjetne predaje, Ministarstvo boli and books of essays Americki fikcionar, Kultura lazi, Zabranjeno citanje, Nikog nema doma Ugre i s essays have appeared in American Context , The Hedgehog Review and European newspapers and magazines such as Vrij Nederland , NRC Handelsblad , Die Zeit , Neue Zurcher Zeitung , Die Welt Woche , and many others She teaches occasionally at American and European universities Her books have been translated into then twenty languages Dubravka Ugre i has received several major European literary awards In 2016, Ugre i won the Neustadt International Prize for Literature.She is based in Amsterdam today, working as a freelance writer.


    1. Memory and what might be better forgotten. So, today, 7/11/2010, I unintentionally wound up walking past the tourist trap known as the World Trade Center site, aka Ground Zero, aka whatever it is called. Roughly it had been 8 years, 10 months and five and a half hours, give or take some minutes since I last happened to be in the neighborhood. My first response to realizing we (that would be Karen and I) would be getting to see that spot was annoyance. As in, what the fuck, I wasn't expecting thi [...]

    2. UNO SCHIAFFO INVISIBILE SULLA FACCIAMi sarebbe piaciuto che Tanja, l’io narrante di questo romanzo, raccontasse ancora più a fondo i suoi studenti, gente con uno schiaffo invisibile sulla faccia, come lei fuggiti dalla Jugoslavia durante i conflitti degli anni Novanta: ma Tanja non poteva farlo, perché una volta scappata all’estero, una volta approdata ad Amsterdam, mentre il suo paese si disfaceva e smembrava e massacrava, Tanja imparava a fondo la lingua della solitudine.Nel suo paese il [...]

    3. I have never been in danger of losing my heritage. The US existed long before I was born, and will in all likelihood still be standing long after I'm gone. English is not going to split itself up into a hydra construction anytime soon, barring a disturbance of apocalyptic magnitude. And even if this language chimera did phase into being, there's little chance of the different strains hating each other to the point of genocide. I take this intrinsic stability for granted. You'd be hard pressed to [...]

    4. This Review must be prefaced with an apology. Perhaps a warning for uncharacteristic negativity. Please, excuse this.The Ministry of Pain is one of the worst books I’ve read since joining . What makes this situation especially difficult/painful/unfortunate is that it came with a very sturdy recommendation from the tripod of MJ-Jonathan-Aubrey. Please don’t cease the recommendations on account of this Review.In short, I found myself constantly groaning and sighing ; lucky that there were few [...]

    5. في موطن الألم تسلط الكاتبة الضوء على نتائج الحرب الكارثية في يوغسلافية والتي أدت لتفككها لدول وقوميات عديدة ولغات عدة حتى زوال الاتحاد اليوغسلافي نهائيا عام 2006وتتناول الرواية تداعيات ما بعد الحرب وصعوبات العيش والتأقلم في الوطن البديلوبين الاندماج وبين الحنين للوطن وهاجس [...]

    6. A profoundly intelligent take on Serb/Croatian emigré life following the death of Yugoslav Prime Minister Josip Toto. Tanja is a teacher living in Amsterdam responsible for a Croatian literature programme, who realises her students are much more interesting than her topic. Very fresh, witty and moving.

    7. I reread this because I was incredulous about my negative response to it. I've had middling responses to a few books otherwise highly regarded by my fellow readers so I know what that's like ; but I've never found a book so simply bad which others regard at least as competent. But, no, now I'm just incredulous about how bad this book is. Again I started groaning as soon as the cliched simile=dropping started in. But I take little pleasure in ripping a book yet another one. So I'll head off my in [...]

    8. Проблемът с напускането на родното място е сякаш изначален. Разглеждан е и описван от всевъзможни ъгли, но един от онези, най-ярко врязали се в съзнанието ми, е безкрайно интересната теория на Проп за морфологията на вълшебните приказки. Каква връзка има изследването на рус [...]

    9. I was naturally well aware of the absurdity of my situation: I was to teach a subject that officially no longer existed. What we once called jugoslavistika at the university—that is, Slovenian, Croatian, Bosnian, Serbian, Montenegrin, and Macedonian literature—had disappeared as a discipline together with its country of origin. Besides, the students I was assigned had no particular interest in literature; they were interested in their Dutch papers. I was hired to teach the literature of a co [...]

    10. From Mishima’s “The Sailor Who Fell from Grace with the Sea” to Kafka to “Winesburg, Ohio,” the themes of alienation and exile have pervaded world literature in the twentieth century so much as to almost become a cliché. The various political disintegrations in Europe of the 1980s and 1990s gave need to another wave of this type of literature, and is whence Dubravka Ugresic’s wonderful novel “The Ministry of Pain” comes. Reading it, I was reminded a lot of Kundera’s novels fro [...]

    11. من أفضل ما قرأت في عام 2015 رواية تحمل كل معاني الغربة والحنين إلى الوطن. مأساة يوغسلافيا والحرب الأهلية هناك هناك أجزاء يجب عليك أن تقف وتبكي عندها بعد انفصال كل فئة عن الأخرى آخذة معها لغتها وكل ما تعلق بها معها - من المبكيات أن كلمة خبز في كل لغة اختلفت في حين أن كلمة موت واحدة [...]

    12. موطن الألم رواية للكاتبة الكرواتية (دوبرافكا اوجاريسك)التى تعيش فى هولندا كلاجئة بعد رفضها استقلال كرواتيا عن يوغسلافيا السابقة وبعد اندلاع الحرب عام 1991 اتخذت موقفا صلبا ضد الحرب والنزعة القومية واضطرت للهجرة وهى حاصلة على العديد من الجوائز أشهرها جائزة الدولة النمساوية ف [...]

    13. A book about exile and trying to establish your identity in a foreign land living among your own expats whose rivalries and grudges are the reason for the narrator fleeing her war-torn country in the first place. The country is Yugoslavia as it breaks up into 6 different states and these exiles find sanctuary but no peace in Holland. The book is a stunning piece of literary writing. It portrays the human soul, with crystal precision. What it means to be in pain. To be displaced. To be fragmented [...]

    14. موطن الألم.رواية دوبرافكا أوجاريسك.ترجمة: د/محمد فرغلمراجعة: د/ سامية دياباصدار المجلس الوطني للثقافة والفنون والآداب-الكويت ضمن سلسلة ابداعات عالمية- أكتوبر ٢٠١١م.تنتمي هذه الرواية لأدب المنفى، تتناول فيه الأديبة الكرواتية "دوبرافكا" قصة مقتبسة من أحداثٍ تاريخية عاصرتها و [...]

    15. " حين تكون محاصرا بين خيارين العودة الى هناك وتكون ميتا , أو البقاء هنا وتكون مهزوما ! " هذه هي اختصار حياة اللاجيء الذي ترك وطنه الذي تضربه الحروب والفتن والصراعات ورحل الى اللامكان حيث ينتقل من مكان لآخر باحثا عن البقاء على أمل العودة ولكن تطول الغربة وتمر الأيام فيفضل أن ينس [...]

    16. Litterärt lyxproblem; en subhög med citylittslattar har samlats i TBR:en. Romaner jag skaffat för att läsa on location i Seattle, Paris, Sanremo, Southwold (!) och Amsterdam, av abibliofobiska orsaker, eller överentusiastisk bokpackning. The Ministry of Pain är en exillitteraturprofessors anteckningar från ett källarhål - i Amsterdam. Insiktsfullt, intelligent. Utöver Balkanhistoriken finns det mycket här för den med flanörsjäl. Se kärleksbombning på Insta. #BOTNS-bingoruta: 'A d [...]

    17. “Croats would eat their kruh, while Serbs would eat their hleb, Bosnians their hljeb: the word for bread in the three languages was different. Smrt, the word for death, was the same.”“Yugoslavia was a terrible place. Everybody lied. They still lie of course, but now each lie is divided in five, one per country.”“One day, passing a group of American tourists that had gathered round an old Kalverstraat organ grinder and hearing them gush over him with the word “cute,” I was reminded [...]

    18. I feel this book was written for "us" and translation somewhat fails it. Because of this, I give it 3 stars. I doubt any English speaker reading it would quite understand, though I do think many would see it serve as some kind of stand-in for a pathetic though not wholly untruthful introduction to and depiction of Slavic mentality and its pains- albeit much too singularly dark and angry in tone because I think our mentality is more sad than angry, more suffering than tortured, more creative than [...]

    19. Bosnian sodan repimiä ihmisiä Amsterdamissa, selviytymässä elämässään eteenpäin, kun raaka sota on vienyt maan, kielen ja identiteetin. Karu tarina, joka pitää kuitenkin lopulta aika etäällä.

    20. An important but brutally depressing read, the premise is a good one - in the late 90s, a group of students from the former Yugoslavia are enrolled in a Serbo-Croat course at the University of Amsterdam under the instruction of a teacher who has moved from Zagreb. Her way of smoothing out differences and keeping them motivated is to feed them and encourage in them a healthy diet of 'Yugonostalgia' and while Tito's People's Republic is by no means glossed over as an earthly paradise (brutal labou [...]

    21. What is like to live with Yugo-nostalgia? To be drawn to others of "your own", fellow diaspora of former Yugoslavia? To never be at peace, feel at home, be completely yourself or fully recover from having your country torn from you, your memories replaced with new ones and the suffocating guilt of having gotten away?Despite my efforts to really try and like this book, my feelings remained an unwavering lukewarm at the most. The author penned a beautiful, sad, harsh, unforgiving and above all, tr [...]

    22. I really like Dubravka Ugresic's work (her 'Thank You For Not Reading' is a favourite collection of essays) and this novel does not disappoint, but it also does not quite work. The central character and narrator has a short term contract teaching in the Department of Slavonic Languages at the University of Amsterdam where in the post-Yugoslav era (after the fratricidal war of the 1990s) she has to teach Yugoslav (or Serb-Croat-Bosnian-Montenergin-Slovenian-Macedonian) literature. Her approach, a [...]

    23. In a world rapidly filling with those taking refuge from political turmoil, there is a growing literature of the refugee experience. This novel (which seems more like a memoir it is so detailed in the specifics of finding asylum in another country) covers a year in the life of a young woman from Zagreb in Croatia, who has fetched up in Holland, with a university teaching job in the Slavic Languages department. Here she teaches mostly fellow emigres, from the former Yugoslavia.The narrative devic [...]

    24. '''بدأ مقياس ضغط قلبك بالهبوط، وبدأت عيناك تغرورقان بالدموعكان يفصلنا جدار غير مرئي من الجليد، كنت في الجهة اﻷخرىهل من الممكن أن يقول إنه كانت لدي رغبة واحدة في تلك اللحظة، وهي أن أضرب رأسي في عرض الجدار؟ احتجت إلى المساعدة. عانى قلبي من خطأ ما، ولكنني لم أستطع أن أحدد مدى خطو [...]

    25. Прочетох книгата за един ден. Надмина всичките ми очаквания, които всъщност нямах в големи количества, предвид темата. А именно - последиците в живота на обикновените хора, след войната в Югославия. Стилът и изказът на автора са на високо ниво. Угрешич пише доста чувствено, ч [...]

    26. تقدم الرواية قصة ضياع وفقدان هوية وتناقش مواضيع إنسانية في غاية الأهمية ، تتعلق بتداعيات العيش في المنفىمن خلال النموذج اليوغسلافي وأهم هذه التداعيات هو هاجس العودة إلى الوطن ، وتطرح الكاتبة ثنائية مرعبة :فالعودة إلى الوطت تعني الموت ، في حين أن البقاء في المنفى يعني الهزيم [...]

    27. Briljantna knjiga. Nevjerojatno uvjerljiv prikaz iskorijenjenosti nakon raspada Jugoslavije i strategija pamćenja/zaborava. Prisutne su sve karakteristike ženskog pisma, ali proza nije zamorna kakva neka djela u tom žanru, primjerice, Svila, škare, znaju biti. Izvrstan lirizam, ali i nepatvorenost osjećaja i situacija s kojima se zaista može lako povezati. Demistificira mnoge emigrantske narative, ali ni u jednom trenutku s grubošću.

    28. шкода, що так мало перекладів з неї можна знайти, – дубравка угрешич мені подобається в усіх своїх іпостасях: іронічній, інсайдерсько-літературній, публіцистичній, феміністичній, міфотворчій (чи то пак міфоперетворювальній) – і в цій новій, трохи сумній і трохи жорстокій, [...]

    29. An amazing touching novel. I can say it is one of the stories that I did not want to end. Moving between the details, the characters, or the feelings gave me a sense of excitement. The way the writer linked the ideas was incredibly good. I love it as it really embodied my life, I spent away from my family and started to believe,regardless of some frustrations,that being far away form your hometown can be painful and even more damaging than an infectious disease. It goes in the veins and arteries [...]

    30. Croatian author and émigré Dubravka Ugrešić's novel of exile and dislocation in the aftermath of Yugoslavia's disintegration is insightful and well-written (English translation by Michael Henry Heim). Not easy to read because of the painful topography traversed, but a journey worth making for the complexity and nuance of understanding communicated in its pages. Left me reeling from the feeling of socio-cultural vertigo experienced by the émigré exiles in this genre-crossing tale. Pretty am [...]

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