Newcomers by Lojze Kovacic
Book One

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...“Newcomers” has two dominant singular conceits that take some getting used to...Don’t be put off. This fine novel is not only accessible, but deeply memorable.
-Star Tribune


The first volume of this three-part autobiographical series begins in 1938 with the expulsion of the Kovacic family from their home of Switzerland, eventually leading to their settlement in the father's home country of Slovenia. Narrated by Kovacic as a ten-year-old boy, he describes his family's journey with uncanny naiveté. Before leaving their home, he imagines his father's home country as something beautiful out of a fairytale, but as they make their way toward exile, he and his family realize that any attempt to make a home in Slovenia will be in vain. Confronted by misery, hunger, and hostility, the young boy refuses to learn Slovenian and falls silent, his surroundings becoming a social, cultural and mental abyss. 

Kovačič meticulously, boldly, and sincerely portrays the objective, everyday world; the style is clear and direct. Told from the point of view of a child, one memory is interrupted by fragments and visions of another. Some are innocent and tender, while others are miserable and ruthless, resulting in a profound and heart-wrenching description of a period torn apart by conflict, reflected in the author's powerful and innovative command of language.

About Lojze Kovacic

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In 2016, Lojze Kovacic was voted the most outstanding Slovenian novelist of the past quarter century by a jury of eighteen leading Slovene literary historians and critics. Archipelago’s release of the first volume of his three-volume masterpice Newcomers is the first work by him to appear in English.Lojze Kovacic was born in Basel in 1928 to a German mother and Slovenian father. In 1938 the family was exiled to Slovenia, where Kovacic lived until his death in 2004. He is considered to be one of Slovenia’s most significant authors, and Newcomers is widely regarded the most important Slovenian novel of the twentieth century. He received the Prešeren Award for life achievement in 1973, and the Kresnik Award for best novel in 1991 and 2004 for Crystal Time and Things of Childhood. In addition to his novels and short story collections, Kovacic also published a number of books for children and young readers. About the Translator:Michael Biggins has translated works by a number of Slovenia’s leading contemporary writers. He currently curates the library collections for Russian and East European studies and teaches in the Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures, both at the University of Washington in Seattle.
Author Residence: Ljubljana, Slovenia (deceased)
Author Hometown: Basel, Switzerland
Published May 24, 2016 by Archipelago. 250 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction. Fiction
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Star Tribune

Above average
Reviewed by Malcolm Forbes on Aug 26 2016

...“Newcomers” has two dominant singular conceits that take some getting used to...Don’t be put off. This fine novel is not only accessible, but deeply memorable.

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