Impossible Stories I by Serbian author Zoran ivkovi includes five of his short novels: Time Gifts, Impossible Encounters, Seven Touches of Music, The Library, Steps through the Mist. To share a sampling, here are my reviews of two of the five: IMPOSSIBLE ENCOUNTERS Zoran ivkovi recounts how a number of his novels, including Impossible Encounters, share a similar internal architecture in that they consist of seemingly stand-alone stories, however, upon reaching the end, a reader discovers an underlying unity forming an organic whole. That's precisely the feeling I came away with upon reading the concluding paragraphs of Impossible Encounters: this short novel contains an underlying cohesion and unity that's greater than the sum of its six individual chapters. I wouldn't want to give away too much but I will share two obvious threads running through each of the six chapters: 1) a book entitled Impossible Encounters appears at some point in the story, 2) the main character, always a quiet, sedate, orderly type of individual, meets a mysterious older man who injects an element of Middle-European "fantastika" which might be translated as "fantasy" if the term wasn't immediately associated with Tolkienesque fiction. Zoran ivkovi is the first to admit his tales touch on our ultimate questions of life and death, identity and freedom. Again, Zoran ivkovi enjoys playing with ultimate questions, this time with memory, identity and the nature of good and evil. THE LIBRARY Zoran ivkovi's short novel is a tour de force of imagination, a delight most especially for readers, like myself, for whom libraries hold a special place in the heart. The Serbian man of letters has spent a lifetime sifting through stacks of books in his capacity as academic, philologist, essayist, researcher, publisher, translator and connoisseur of science fiction. To both his astonishment and consternation, he discovers this online library has posted a photo of his younger self, the years of his deaths (nine different years) and not only his three books are listed but a grand total of twenty-one, eighteen of which display a publication date in the future. All the essential keys of my poetics are contained in it." Night Library - Similar to The Encyclopedia of the Dead authored by his fellow Serbian Danilo Ki, Zoran ivkovic's narrator is in a library at night, after hours. For the narrator in this Zoran ivkovic tale, a man who avoided reading books his entire life, hell is - I can't bring myself to write it. At the very end of the row, peddling his books in an old ice cream vendors cart, theres a new seller - small, wrinkled, gray bearded, hoarse voice - who tells the narrator he has what he is looking for. When the narrator asks how he knows, the old bookseller simply says, Its not hard to tell. Following a further exchange, the narrator is handed a bag of books to which he asks how much money is owed. No writing appears on the chestnut-colored cover but when he opens the book, after a chestnut-colored flyleaf, the words The Smallest Library were written at the top of the first page in tiny, slanted letters. Although there is one word on the next page which he assumes is the books title, he is a bit perplexed to find neither copyright information nor author. No matter, when he flips through the pages he can see the book is a novel with numbered chapters. He looks up the website for The National Library that has absolutely everything about every book ever published. He opens the book once again to check the title page.
Donde a los protagonistas se les plantea la opción de viajar en el tiempo. El relato que más me ha gustado ha sido El astrónomo. Quizá sean los relatos que menos me han gustado. Donde los protagonistas tienen que ver con distintas clases de bibliotecas.
Taken together, the stories are tied to themes of fate and destiny, our vain human attempts to exert control over the whims of chance and fate and the encumbrances of past mistakes and tragedies.
These pieces touch on the rigidity of life, our concepts of good and evil, fear of death, fate, time, fiction versus reality, author and character, if this sounds stiff and intelectual, do not fear he has great tone, pace, and good if sometimes bleak sense of humor.
There are five "story-cycles" in this one collection by Zoran Zivkovic ("Time Gifts", "Impossible Encounters", "Seven Touches of Music", "The Library" and "Steps Through the Mist"), and within each cycle 4-7 short stories of similar nature or using the same motifs. They are all interconnected in some way, often not becoming clear until the last story of each cycle.
In 1973 he graduated from the Department of General Literature with the theory of literature, Faculty of Philology of the University of Belgrade; he received his master's degree in 1979 and his doctorate in 1982 from the same school.