Publishing Year: 1996
Number of Words: 38.950
Award: Giorgio La Pira
Copyright belongs to the author
he collection of short stories The Mimicries by Aleksandar Gatalica is in many ways rebellious. What is so new in The Mimicries? Above all it is the attempt to exclude the author’s presence and his ego completely, and to make these short stories true literary duplicates. The aspiration was not to introduce the styles of the others in an ironical mater, but rather to present the particular author’s style as true as possible.
This time the aim was not the overall style, for some authors were prone to changing their style often, but preferably the one particular style. The story The Singers and the Roosters was created in such a chameleonic manner as to mimic the stories in Borges’s Universal History of Infamy, the story The Venetian Mirror was the “sequence” of Mann’s Death in Venetia, while the story Black Shirts and Funeral March was written to melt in with the stories from The Encyclopedia of the Dead by Danilo Kiš.
The goal of The Mimicries was polemic, in essence postmodern to the very core. It was not an easy task to write six stories that would be the ideal forgeries, as were many paintings “signed” by Renoir, Van Gogh or Miro. Citation of the false, invented or imaginary documents is the basis for the literature made between the two Great Wars left to us by Borges. ‘I hope I won’t be forced to pay the copyrights for this book’, wrote the author in the Memento, ‘though that would be the greatest honor of all. ’
However, to avoid the simple mechanical copying, every chameleonic story was added an aspect that the real author would never use. Danilo Kiš never wrote about the rise of Nazism in the United Germany, Milorad Pavić never inscribed the biographies of the Russian refugees in Belgrade in between the Two Wars, and Jorge Luis Borges never wrote about the Italian immigrants in America at the turn of the Twentieth Century.
Therefore, The Mimicries is the book to be read at least two times. Once to understand often complicated ways of copying, and the second simply to enjoy in it.