The Son is the first book I’ve read by the Montenegrin author Andrej Nikolaidis. And I think I will read another book after a while. Although the story seems pretty dark to me in general, I am happy to meet such an author. Nikolaidis may be an exquisite choice for those who are looking for a different literary taste.
The Son is about a night of an anonymous anti-hero whose life is slowly falling into pieces. Our anti-hero, who is an author and lives in Ulcinj, Montenegro, has not written anything for a long time. And it looks like he won’t be able to write anything any time soon. But that’s the least of his problems.
Our anti-hero introduces us to various characters on his way. Unfortunately, we are separated from them before we get to know them properly. Still, we feel sorry for some and laugh at others. However, some of them will remain with you for a long time. Either with their sentences or their obscureness.
Andrej Nikolaidis is a complex author. There is a scream in every line of the characters he creates and what he wants to tell. Everything that cannot be said in the relationship with the father is loaded into these screams. So this book offers an uncomfortable reading experience. Still, I couldn’t put it down. I realized that I want to listen to what this strange man wants to tell with all my being. It dragged me after it, and I must say it worth every uncomfortable moment.
I also took note of all the names he cited and quoted. I want to explore them all one by one. If you are looking for an interesting read, I’d recommend this. It will be perfect for Montenegro if you’re challenging yourself to read at least an author from each country.
The Son follows one night in the life of a hero with no name, a writer whose life is falling apart. That afternoon, his wife left him, while for many years he has been in conflict with his father, who blames him for his mother’s death. Incapable of finding inner calm, he leaves into the warm, Mediterranean night, in the city of Ulcinj, itself a multilayered mixture of European dimensions, African influences, and the communist past.
The hero of The Son is a man who can’t adapt to new times and rules. On his journey into the night, he meets an assortment of characters: a piano student from Vienna who has abandoned his musical career and converted to Islam, a radical Christian preacher and a group of refugees from Kosovo. In the style of Mihail Bulgakov, the characters meet in the old city of Ulcinj, at the Square of the Slaves – a location where the pirates who lived in the city until the 19th century would bring and sell captured slaves, including Miguel de Cervantes, according to legend.
Andrej Nikolaidis is a Montenegrin novelist, columnist, and political adviser. His novel Sin won the European Union Prize for Literature in 2011. The English translation was published in 2013 by Istros Books in the UK.
Reading this book contributed to these challenges: