When Nina knew
By David Grossman
In his new novel David Grossman tells the extraordinary story of an Israeli-Yugoslav family, from the perspective of the granddaughter. The things that left their imprint and damaged the mother-daughter relationships for three generations are meticulously and touchingly reconstructed 60 years later. Nina is an Israeli woman with Serbo-Croatian roots who travelled as far the Arctic to escape her family and history and has returned to Jerusalem for her mother Vera’s 90th birthday party. Her strangeness and her cold attitude towards her own daughter Gili, who documents everything for a film project, have their unclear origins in Vera’s past in Yugoslavia. Vera was deported to the prison island Goli Otok, also called Tito’s Hawaii, or Tito’s concentration camp. She had refused to denounce her husband Miloš as a Stalinist spy, whereupon she was imprisoned on the island, and six-year-old Nina abandoned. Memories, of a world whose coordinates are completely unknown to the descendants, begin resurfacing. The character of the grandmother is inspired by Eva Panić-Nahir, whose biography was the first to reveal “Tito’s Gulag” to the public.
Dušan David Pařízek will adapt David Grossman’s new novel for the stage, following soon after the publication of its German translation.