“Nutmeg, Lemon, and Turmeric. Observations from Zagreb” is the first Polish collection of essays by one of the greatest Croatian writers, brought together by an acclaimed translator Magdalena Petryńska specially for the Polish readers. Starting with the particulars – exhibitions, books, and photographs – Jergović records his reflections on issues that are of personal interest to him, as well as crucial for the understanding of contemporary world – identity, his life in two cultures, a sense of belonging, alienation, emigration. His writings are always uncompromisingly honest.
Texts collected in this volume formulate a polyphonic story, both initiate and universal, painful and ruthless, focused on memory, complicated history that intrudes into people’s lives, on literature that is both a burden and a support, finally, on the redeeming power of love in the world “after the barbarians”. In an unobvious way, Jergović shows that hopeless times can breed hope, while apocalypse can be beautiful.
Extended excerpts address the work of major European artists and writers – Thomas Bernhard, Sándor Márai, Ivo Andrić, Danil Kiš, Lászlo Krasznahorkai, Miroslav Krleža, and Marina Abramović. Jergović writes about cities as well – Petrinija, Trieste, Belgrade, Budapest, Zagreb, Krakow, and Lviv. Walking around them, the writer activates the fading memory of recent past and of the complex Central European history.
Some pieces in the volume address Polish culture, which Jergović feels and understands like few others. The collection contains texts on Wróblewski, Vincenzo, Miłosz, Różewicz, Herling-Grudziński, Zagajewski, Kornhauser, Tokarczuk, Stasiuk and others.
“Nutmeg, Lemon, and Turmeric. Observations from Zabreb” by Miljenko Jergović is the tenth volume in the Library of Central Europe series.