Year of publishing: 2012
NIN Award 2012
"Meša Selimović" Award 2012
Number of words: 144.508
Copyright belongs to the author
ovel ’The Great War’ is the final book from the informal trilogy by Aleksandar Gatalica dedicated to the Twentieth Century. After his notable books ’The Century’ (’Ivo Andric’ and ’Umberto Saba’ Awards), and ’The Invisible’ (’Stevan Sremac’ Award), the readers are now presented with the novel that, this time around, by comprehensive and passionate narration, presents a large chunk of the previous century, covering the four years that changed the world, starting with the year 1914 – the year that truly marked the beginning of the Twentieth Century. Following the destinies of over seventy characters, on all warring sides, Gatalica depicts the destinies of winners and losers, generals and opera singers, soldiers and spies; managing once again to grasp the chronotopos of the entire epoch, not only in these crucial four and a half years of the biggest war in the history of the mankind till that time, but also in the innocent decades that preceded the war, and the poisoned ones that followed. There is a kind of unusual ambition in this book that in no page slips into boredom or repetition; sad, but also jolly destinies, the examples of exceptional, but also futile heroism. But the most important thing to say about this book is that The Great War never becomes a chronicle, nor applied history novel; above all it is a work of art that uses historic events as means to tell many fantastic stories, with unbelievable and unthinkable turns. Also this time around, as was the case with the previous books by Aleksandar Gatalica, it all begins with a certain document, or sometimes an unbelievable fact, as was the biography of one of the head officers of the Austro-Hungarian army field marshal Svetozar Borojevic fon Bojna, the descendant of the Serbian krajinash – but ends in a fantasy paradigmal for the literature based on a strong and striking story.