Croatian War Nocturnal
by Spomenka Štimec
translated from the Esperanto by Sebastian Schulman
Release Date: August 15, 2017
Croatian War Nocturnal is a fictionalized memoir of the wars in former Yugoslavia in the early 1990s, told from the perspective of a Croatian Esperanto activist and teacher. Composed on an early machine-translation computer while the author hid in her bathroom during bomb raids, the book consists of short, interconnected episodes describing the daily traumas of war and genocide and their effect on life and family, memory and language.
Told in a unique and elegant staccato style, it’s an emotional account of a woman trying to make sense of the seeming collapse of the two utopian projects that have framed her life—Yugoslavia and Esperanto. At turns somber and darkly witty, Croatian War Nocturnal is a work of enduring optimism, a cry for peace against violence and indifference.
"In Štimec’s epigrammatic style, irony both mediates and underscores horror, highlighting the absurd consequences of war" -Michele Levy, World Literature Today
Spomenka Štimec (b. 1949) is a leading figure in the small but vibrant world of Esperanto literature. Active in Esperanto culture since her youth, she has authored dozens of works in Esperanto and Croatian, including novels, short stories, travelogues, plays, and textbooks, and has taught Esperanto language and culture in many countries. Her work has been translated into a number of languages, including French, German, Icelandic, Swedish, Chinese, and Japanese. A recipient of the prestigious Franz Alois Meiners Prize (FAME-premio, 1994), she has been a Member of the Academy of Esperanto and Secretary of the Esperanto Writers’ Association. She lives in Croatia.
Sebastian Schulman is a PhD candidate in Jewish history at Indiana University, Bloomington, and the former director of translation initiatives at the Yiddish Book Center, Amherst, MA. His writing and translations have in appeared in The Dirty Goat, PaknTreger, Forward, and elsewhere. He serves as translation editor for In geveb: A Journal of Yiddish Studies.
Cover design by Jaya Nicely