The Cartier Project Paperback – Jan 15 2005
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Mazzini makes a kind of Hemingway-esque, late-twentieth-century, in-your-face, shrug at the world he depicts--and what a world. As Tito's rule in Yugoslavia draws to a close, Egon's grimy foundry town, with its dismal flats filled with inhabitants wearing tattered, much-mended clothes as they bum cigarettes from one another, is a metaphor for all Yugoslavia. His "Sunday suit" is a foundry worker's uniform of blue overalls and jacket, and his lunch voucher gets him beef broth with sausage made of "fragments of fat, gristle, bones and other garbage wrapped in a condom." Is it any wonder that running out of his one luxury--Cartier perfume--brings Egon to the edge? Springtime becomes summer, poets somehow attract the culturati to bookstore readings, the worker's dormitories have overflowing toilets but no toilet paper, and Egon, who writes romances using a pseudonym, learns that his latest title credits his real name, a development that is a mixed blessing. This tale of endurance, infused with desperate humor, is already the best-selling Slovenian novel ever--deservedly. Whitney Scott
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