The Death of the Little Match Girl Paperback – Nov 15 2007
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"Smartly written, embarrassingly funny." Hebdomeros
"An intriguing Balkan period-piece [with] quirky variety and dark humour." complete-review.com
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The book opens on the dissonant note of both shattered innocence and increasing absurdity. The funeral of a little girl is simultaneously surreal and awkward: one speaker reads the wrong speech, another launches into a rant about children being sawed in half. Things go slowly down the proverbial hill from there - Fero is then summoned to examine the anatomically incorrect body of a dead woman and his childhood town starts to take on an alien and sinister air. As the plot escalates and the unexplained events proliferate, the only assumption left is that menacing forces are at work, behind the scenes, orchestrating some nefarious scheme. The book takes on the form of an Escher print: lots of stairs and passages leading nowhere. Lurking forebodingly in the background, is, of course, the recent Balkans war, which, despite its threatening nature, soon fades to white noise, very nearly evaporating from the story itself. Yet in the end, "The Death of Little Match Girl" is more than plot: it is about ambiance, atmosphere, and what elements compose and color the world in which we live. The ending is therefore appropriately anticlimactic, leaving the reader somewhat confounded. So - that's what it was? That's it??? . . . !
I think what truly makes Feric's work here so intriguing is precisely this exploration of paranoia and the insidious encroachment of mounting fear into an everyday setting. That is also what makes it pertinent to the recent conflict in the region: the war saw long-time neighbors turn on one another with a seemingly sudden ferocity. "The Death of the Little Match Girl" is therefore recommended for anyone interested in the psychological dimensions of deep-rooted sociopolitical anxiety and its swelling potential to detonate.