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The Museum of Unconditional Surrender by…
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The Museum of Unconditional Surrender (1996)

by Dubravka Ugrešić

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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231874,601 (3.81)30

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» See also 30 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 8 (next | show all)
“Rilke once said that the story of a shattered life can only be told in bits and pieces …” p107

The novel begins with a description of the contents of a stomach of a walrus which died in the Berlin zoo; unimaginable bits of random, plastic modern life, which, no matter how one may try to fit together, stay a random collection, but still describe the walrus's life and ultimately his death.

So it is with Ugrešić's novel. There are random bits and pieces which one is in despair of fitting together, and yet describe the refugee's life.

Beautifully written, but a tough book for me to get through; less because of the subject matter than the episodic, patchwork style. Perhaps this only reflects my lack of experience with postmodernism.

By the end I had a little clearer understanding of living with a life ripped away.

Ugrešić herself fled war torn Yugoslavia as it disintegrated into five separate nations. Her birthplace became part of Croatia and she writes in Croatian. ( )
1 vote streamsong | Feb 13, 2018 |
Scattered stories and objects in parallel reflecting the shattering nature of exile resulting from war. ( )
  brakketh | Feb 26, 2017 |
28 Dec 2012 I read 50 pages and gave up for I simply wasn't interested in the story anymore.
  ShelleyAlberta | Jun 4, 2016 |
Fascinating collage work investigating the nature of memory and and construction of identity as impacted by displacement and exile. More intellectual than emotional. ( )
  ELiz_M | Apr 6, 2013 |
How can you not love a book that begins like "The Museum of Unconditional Surrender?" It starts off inventorying the contents of the stomach of a dead Berlin Zoo walrus... a baby's shoe, keys, lollypops sticks, a knife... a list of wholly separate things but linked together by a common thread of being swallowed by the appetite of a zoo animal.

Like the walrus, Dubravka Ugresic's (semi-autobiographical, one supposes) novel brings together a series of nostalgic stories that evoke an exile's wanderings away from a Yugoslavia that no longer exists.

True or not, the stories are beautifully written in a variety of styles.... almost poetic... I found myself frequently returning to reread a short paragraph that concisely said so much about the loneliness of immigration.

Overall, a lovely novel... quite glad to have read this one. ( )
  amerynth | Feb 6, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 8 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (7 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Dubravka Ugrešićprimary authorall editionscalculated
Alonso, María ÁngelesTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bajic, DraganaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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In the Berlin zoo, beside the pool containing the live walrus, there is an unusual display.
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The heroine of this novel is a middle-aged Croatian and the novel is composed of fragments. She reflects on exile, life in Berlin, there's a recipe for caraway soup and a romantic encounter in Lisbon.

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