LX: Memoirs of a Jugoslav by Vane Ivanovic

LX: Memoirs of a Jugoslav

Email this review


Shipping magnate, spear fisherman, former Olympic runner, and currently Consul General in London for his very dear friend Prince Rainier of Monaco, Ivanovic is a queer mix of florid Balkan emotionalism and English patrician poise. Having begun life with a five-foot-three Lothario for a father and a grand dame for a mother, Ivanovic hopscotched his way from Zagreb to London, Paris to Latin America to New York. He treats most subjects with the aplomb of a consummate dilettante--a family scandale, an aphorism, a casual thought on cricket or bullfighting or American Indians. But when his reminiscences turn to his native Jugoslavia--he hasn't been back since the postwar communist government was installed--he is a fervently nostalgic patriot of the old school, and smartly contemptuous of the Tito regime (""the streets are dirty and you get pushed around and sworn at,"" a friend assured him). WW II was the centerpiece of his life, and Ivanovic minutely reconstructs the stages by which Tito's partisans consolidated their hold on the Southern Slavs. The cosmopolitan Ivanovic, already living abroad, turned his fleet over to the Allied war effort, but he can't help pointing up Churchill's misguided stewardship of the Jugoslav guerrillas. For the rest, there's a good deal of jet set gossip, witty if superficial anecdotes of an adventurous life made more so by war and war's alarms.

Pub Date: March 4th, 1977
Publisher: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich