The Life Lines
‘Aleksandar Gatalica is a full-grown writer. His novel is well built, written in good language. Interlaces, well chosen details, motive and style, everything is functioning well, and the reader simply cannot put down this book. The Life Lines is among the novels to be read several times.’
Miroslav Josić Višnjić
‘Aleksandar Gatalica had motivated and built the stories in this novel as the stories equally spread in both worlds; in the first one based on the realistic principles, and in the other which is basically a fantastic invention of the world based on the realistic principles. This quality enabled Gatalica to position the destinies of his characters as the result of both visible and invisible forces.’
‘This is an unparalleled literary experiment in the Serbian contemporary literature, at least as far as the technical virtuosity is concerned. The book is written both in Cyrillic and Latin alphabet, which is also one of the strategies used in this postmodern experiment. The narrative strategies of Jorge Luis Borges, Tomas Mann, Milorad Pavic, Danilo Kiš, Svetislav Basara and Dino Buzzati all go through Gatalica’s semantic laboratory.’
Predrag Medula ‘Naša Borba’
‘In his book of short novels The Mimicries, Gatalica shows substantial capability for parody, grotesque and irony. Gatalica wrote a series of solemn jokes and playful mockeries, and in the eye of an experienced literary expert this seems to be an attractive playground for poetic experiments. Gatalica could not give higher praise to his authors than to dedicate his mimicries to them. It is as if he tried to sew new literary suites for all them, made of the best materials he could produce in his poetic textile factory.’
Aleksandar Jerkov ‘Dnevni Telegraf’
’Different narration manners placed behind the list of deviation variaties of a democratic century, lead Gatalica’s characters to their final fait. These characters; lovers and artists, dictators and revolutionaries, perverts and criminals, forever determined by their own solitude and deadly story endings, are in fact the image of personal and collective memory. Series of biographies, shredded along the sarcastic darkness of the epoque, take part of the literature as more reliable witness of times.’
Nenad Šaponja, ’Politika’, Beograd
Kiš published his Encyclopedia of the Dead – Gatalica, who differs from him as much as one authentic writer differs from the other, also has his own encyclopedic ambitions: To summarize one century between the covers of a single book, in a hundred and so evocations, fragments, essays or stories – it is difficult to define these chronologically listed narrations in only one word.
Predrag Matvejević, Italian edition Prologue
’The stories told by Aleksandar Gatalica in his ’Century’ are the inner portraits of his characters and their destinies. In this, Gatalica’s narration is akin to Maupassant’s mannirism, but while the French writer seeks to find the literal truth of life, Gatalica seeks the truth in its reverse side, in melancholy of knowledge and in ironic sentiment. ’The Century’ topics come from the suburb of life and history, and with these topics, in only two or three pages, as is much of the stories duration, life is better depicted than in some great epic painting.’
Petar Pijanović, ’Literary Newspaper’, Belgrade
‘Bertollucian ambition to retell in a Boccaccio’s manner the exciting and not in a least jolly Twentieth Century, well isn’t it a bit too ambitious? It is a pleasure to say that this time the skill of storytelling overpowered the pretentiousness of the idea and aim. Aleksandar Gatalica resisted the menace to capture the reader’s attention with ‘heavy artillery’ of words while describing last century’s ‘great figures’. ‘The Century’ is a collection of ironic prose which successfully manages to make historic memory relative, usually depicting the neuralgic spots of the last century from somewhat twisted, alternative perspective. Delightful narration makes this book intrigue and interesting, turning ‘The Century’ into a lengthy ‘in memoriam’ of our century.
Tihomir Brajović, ’Glas javnosti’, Belgrade
The Death of Euripides
‘The Death of Euripides’ is some sort of moralistic debate cloaked in a skillfully weaved literal and Romanesque gown. It is a moralistic tractate written in a postmodern literary manner. This is some sort of ‘bildungsroman’ or Formation Novel. The principal character is led by Euripides, an wanderer and immoral person who, like Nietzsche, believed that moral is an inadequate robe for the rich and unpredictable life. During the debate the inventory of the most immoral Twentieth Century is being argued. However, Aleksandra Gatalica is a writer, and this is above all a novel, so playing with philosophical notions is allowed.
Nenad Daković, ‘Danas’ 9/2002
This is a short essayistic novel with the distinctive philosophical discursion, but rising the principal aesthetic and ethic issues is the thing that keeps the tension of this short and effective novel. If Fuentes with his literary means managed to depict all the sicknesses of his continent, then Gatalica led Europe to the roads of Terra Nostra, stripping naked all the crimes of the European civilization.
Djordje Pisarev, ‘Polja’ 421, 2002
Narration discourse in this novel could be denominated as essayistic story telling. There are four major flows in this novel, however there is no logical, not even an associative system that would connect these narration flows, they rather pop up freely and unburdened by no low or boundaries.
Djordje Despić, ‘ Zlatna greda’, 2002
Belgrade for Foreigners
This guide devoted to the world of fantastic carries us through the labyrinths of the ever escaping and often mysterious Belgrade. Here the foreigner is always a fresh look upon the City. This Belgrade is not climbing towards the sky; in these pages it gives the readers the gift of discovery. The characters in Gatalica’s stories possess the elegancy of the Russian princes right before the Russian Revolution.
Drasko Redjep , ‘Zlatna greda’, January, February 2005
In this book of short stories Gatalica is once again acclaimed as a writer of undoubtedly nurtured imagination. This time, in the center of that imagination, is Belgrade seen in different times with the idea to depict kaleidoscope of numerous destinies on the historic stage of the city.
A Dialog with Delusions
It is not a new thing for Aleksandar Gatalica to reach for the craft refinement, in this case jeweler like and poetic.
In the first ‘heavenly dialogue’ in Macedonia Inn on the island of Lesbos, we encounter the tale of love. To be loved is not granted, not even for Sappho. On the surface, everything seems to be indestructible: Greek sun, Hellenic customs, even living Sappho herself, but only love is short-lived.
In the second ‘hellish dialogue’, Gatalica’s alter ego, the jeweler Aleksandar Popović, has a neurotic conversation with Peter Paul Rubens, and from the warrant for all historic quests, he discovers the important but veiled spy role of the greatest painter of his time. The problem of dead skin – in particular Christ’s skin – becomes and remains the painter’s invincible craftsmanship topic for all times. So there is no insight into the Devil’s nest, and therefore the great painter Rubens finds no rest. Obeying the order ‘from above’, he enters into the dreams of the painters of his time and there he finds their hidden sins.
This book was written precisely with the squandering squander.
Drasko Redjep, Zlatna greda, February 12, 2006
The allegoric fictional tale by Aleksandar Gatalica entitled simply The Invisible - is a novel about the history of modern art based partly on the authentic documents and facts from the history of art, and partly on the author’s unique imagination. The reader is offered a new kind of reality, not only the one we are living in, and know too well. In his novel, Gatalica poses a question- Where does the art leads us to, and also - Can some of the specific events in this world be regarded as a piece of art? But one of the crucial question posed in his novel is - When did the art become the story of success?’ Maybe it was always the case.
The genre of Aleksandar Gatalica’s book The invisible is a picaresque novel, but in the epistolary form, and it views the previous 20th Century from the angle of one of the key problems that the (post)modern art faces – the correlation between the freedom of creation and the ideological control.
Predrag Petrovic, Politika
If we were to believe utterly (and why wouldn’t we?) in what Aleksandar Gatalica writes; and is there a more clear message than the title of his novel The Invisible – or who was the tailor of the modern art, the art and literature itself would certainly become the story of success, the story that must be told. So what did the author want to accomplish in choosing the title for his literary work? While reading this allegoric tale about the history of modern art, I suppose that the conceptual shock inflicted by Gatalica’s novel comes from his character revelation based partly on the real documents from the history of art, and partly on his abundant imagination and erudition. And that means that we were offered a new kind of reality, not the one we are living in and know so little about. Where does the art lead us to? Is it still art? The art became the story of success. I suppose Paris was to blame also.
Mirjana Marinšek Nikolić, Vecernje Novosti
The Great War
The Great War is a first-class sensation in our literature. The most successful novel of the 21st century.
Draško Ređep, “Večernje novosti”
The Great War is undoubtedly the best work written by Aleksandar Gatalica so far and one of the best novels in the last ten years.
Mladen Vesković, “Književni magazine”
This is a novel with a hundred faces, and all of them together make up a diverging and multi-layered story about World War I. Here, there is no separation between two worlds: the fictional and the real. Borislav Pekić would have added the Spirit of History and the poetical content of the past as a predominating content of any successful literary work. The Great War belongs to this category of work.
Petar Pijanović, “Politika”
This is, so far, the best novel by Aleksandar Gatalica. His chronicling-mystical reach into history is formidable in scope: from brothels and studios to the invisible military fronts all over the world, from submarines into zeppelins and aeroplans…
Vesna Trijić, “Blic”
The Great War shows that the word can be powerful, can be deadly and far-reaching.
Miomirka Nešić, “Mons Aureus”
The new novel The Great War is an imposing book about World War I.
Jasmina Vrbavac, programme Vavilon, RTS
The Great War leaves a strong impression about the power of narration which successfully and convincingly depicts the spirit of history.
Mileta Aćimović Ivkov, “Polja”
The Great War is an extraordinary book almost without a match in our languages.
Miljenko Jergović, “Jutarnji list”, Zagreb