DEVIL'S YARD by Ivo Andrie


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A 1961 Nobel Prize brought merited international acclaim to this long-respected Yugoslavian author; and now -in Andrie's seventieth year--the American market receives two penetrating exemplars of his literary talent and entertaining sagacity. The first is this novel, a tale told by a Bosnian monk about his experience in Istambul's penitential Devil's Yard--a kind of isolation hospital for separating the worst from the worst of arrested Levantine offenders. Under the strict rule of an ex-convict, everyone (including innocent pious friars) in the squabbling disorder of prison society is guilty---"" if only in his sleep..or in his mother's mind"". And everyone suffers in the struggle to maintain self-identity against the circumstances of his ""fate"". Brother Petar's fellow convict, Djamil, is with a vision of himself as Djem Sultan, the historical prototype of a man who loses in society's lottery of chance and yet retains his own convictions and ideals. Like his sultan and so many men, Djamil Loses; prison life and society outside it continue as before; and Petar is released in time to tell the tale. Brief and direct, Andric's economy of words well-turned (and especially well-translated here from Serbo-Croatian) makes his story intriguing and his perspective pointed, but not unsubtle. Unusual, and successful, foreign fiction.

Pub Date: Oct. 10th, 1962
Publisher: Grove Press