Monday, January 16, 2017
Gradually a picture is built up of the past of the woman, her family, the town. The book encompasses the horrors of the Holocaust, and of medical research on human guinea pigs, both by the Germans during World War II and other nations including the United States. It makes use of multiple fragments of text from various sources, such as poetry, medical textbooks, and other documents. Some of these have their sources acknowledged at the back, others do not and were perhaps constructed by the author.
I did, after the first fifty to hundred pages, get immersed in the book, more so than in the previous one ("Census" by Panos Ioannides). It was intriguing to see how all the fragments linked up, and to ponder whether or not Ludwig Jacob Fritz was or was not Uncle Luigi, among other puzzles. By the end of the book, I was still quite unclear on some components, and how they fitted in, for instance was Lea Moser/Tessa Koller who appears at the end of the book the same person as the narrator or not? And if not, where does she fit in the story? The atmosphere of the declining port town seemed to be evoked quite successfully, and the lingering effects of the break up of the former Yugoslavia cast a long shadow over the lives of the narrator and other people around her.
Leica Format was translated from Croatian by Celia Hawkesworth and published by Maclehose Press in 2015. It was first published in Croatia in 2003.