Original title: De Pelikaan
Andrej is a postman in a sleepy coast town on the Adriatic in communist Yugoslavia. Josip is responsible for the funicular railway that leads to the war monument at the on top of the hill. He is married and keeps a mistress on the side. Amateur photographer Andrej has snapped one of their amorous encounters, and is blackmailing Josip. Not much later Josip discovers that Andrej is steaming open letters for the money. To be able to meet his unknown blackmailer’s demands he starts blackmailing the postman.
Emphatically, and with a sharp eye for both protagonists’ mentalities, Martin Michael Driessen unfolds a parable of inescapable, mutual bondage. Both do each other harm, as well as good – but only one discovers that the other has been extorting money from him for years. Meanwhile the threat of war, the Yugoslav war that will eventually destroy their town, is looming. This novel, set against a backdrop of capitalist excesses such as gambling and exploitation in latter day communist Yugoslavia, demonstrates Driessen’s unrivalled knack to lift everyday life onto a new and exciting literary plane.
English sample available
Over 15,000 copies sold
Shortlisted for the Libris Literature Prize