THE VIZIER'S ELEPHANT: Three Novellas by Ivo Andric


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Three novellas comprise the second autumn selection from the Nobel Prize winner's prolific works (see above, p. 778). In different locales, each tells of Yugoslavia and its people; in human commentary, each speaks a universal language. The Vizier's Elephant and Anika's Times are folktales of Bosnian villages: in the first, a tyrannical vizier plagues the people with his pet elephant; in the second, evil appears in a murder, a man's tormented heart, and a woman's shameful body. Yet the people-- violently hating, gossiping, longing--flounder on unchanging in the same rough community sea. The third novella, Zeko, steps to a more modern tempo in Belgrade and traces the delayed coming of manhood to a listless henpecked husband. Tasting the civilian perils of World War II, he gradually evolves his own version of existence--not optimal, but at least, bearably individual and worthwhile. Andric's stories seem simple, entertaining fancy; but, like the ready Bosnian tale itself, they are often ""more true than the truth""--and the author's psychological and human insights are revealed in almost epical range. A light touch on serious themes--and generally rewarding.

Pub Date: Oct. 24th, 1962
Publisher: Harcourt, Brace & World