September 18, 2020

Encounters between pages | Babelia


Adam Lozanic, student of Philology, fellow of the Serbian Language and Literature department, external editor of the tourism and literature magazine Our Beauties, receives an offer from a mysterious character who proposes a literary work consisting of making a series of corrections in a book entitled My legacy, self-published 50 years ago by its author, one Anastas Branica. The owner of this out-of-print book explains that he and his wife consider that the copy they own is their property and they believe that this gives them the right to make corrections and changes in order to adapt and improve that property (as happens with a house of field, for example), and that these improvements will be indicated by the couple; and, although full of doubts, Adam Lozanic is as special a reader as this amazing proposal is; It is so important that when he concentrates on reading a book, he is able to meet in it (that is to say: inside it, his reading) with anyone who is reading it simultaneously: it just has to be the same book and be read at the same time. same time, regardless of where each reader is. And precisely because of this uniqueness through reading this book, My legacy, which contains the sad story of the frustration of its author, Adam, following the directions of the mysterious couple, enters the text, modifies paragraphs, lights, scenes or elements of the narrative props and comes into contact with other people who is reading it.

Encounters between pages

These simultaneous readings between strangers lead him to live with them a life parallel to his real one; As can be seen, we are faced with a proposal: that the life of a fiction is as real as life itself, although on a different plane of existence, and it affects the reader as much as it affects and conditions their own reality. “A crowd of different people at the same time, but at the other end of Belgrade, in another city, even in the other part of the world, was reading the same book. And that book, that space, united them all. Some were able to recognize other readers, but others were unable to recognize themselves. And one of the readers involved wonders: “When we go there, that is, there, do we exist here?”

Petrovic’s proposal is clear and fascinating: what is the property limit of a reading? His novel is divided into a structure of chapters called “readings” where Adam meets various characters, including the unfortunate author of the book in question, Anastas Branica, whose sad life covers three of the eight “readings.” Towards the end, Adam’s dilemma manifests itself: the relationship between the two planes of existence is so strong that, even at the cost of losing the remuneration offered by the mysterious couple, which requires modifications that affect the life or memory of his reading companions, he decides to keep or leave a trace of any of the people or things that disappeared or changed during his correction. It is not possible to detail here the variety of suggestions that this singular and imaginative fable contains, but whoever enters it awaits the literary embodiment of the proposal of an author endowed with a powerful imagination. It can only be disfigured by an incontinent use of the enumerative description of things, acts, people and sensations as an expressive resource, today nothing uncommon, but somewhat repetitive and exhausting in excess. On the other hand, Adam’s wandering through the places, rooms and objects that populate the book and assemble reality and fiction in the mighty course of his reading is extraordinarily expressive and fascinating.

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