Latest Review: Bad Blood by Borisav Stankovic
Our latest review is of Serbian Classics Press’s second 2008 offering, Bad Blood by Borisav Stankovic. As noted on the book’s publicity page, “Bad Blood is regarded as the first Serbian psychological novel, and it left a profound influence on writers as diverse as Meša Selimovć, Ivo Andrić, Dobrica Ćosić and Vuk Drašković.”
Erik Estep, a librarian at East Carolina University, wrote this review, and also reviewed the other SCP book (Kis’s Mansarda) for us a few months back.
Bad Blood is set during the first years of Serbian independence from the Ottoman Empire (Serbia was granted independence by the Great Powers at the Congress of Berlin in 1878). It was a time of revolutionary instability as the estates of wealthy Serbian landowners were broken up and given to the laborers who toiled in their fields. Sofka is born into a landowning family brought to the brink of extinction by these reforms and the mismanagement of money by her father, effendi-Mita. And to say that the society is patriarchic and misogynist is a vast understatement.
Despite these disadvantages, Sofka believes she can maintain an independent existence, only to be badly let down by her father and the rest of society. Because of the threat of pauperization, Sofka is basically sold to a wealthy, if culturally backwards family in an arranged marriage (there is a long sequence where Sofka thinks that they are selling the house, not her. [Read this rest of the review here.