Croatian author Daša Drndić, who "was incapable of writing a sentence that was not forceful, fierce or funny--or all three simultaneously," died June 5, the Guardian reported. She was 71. Drndić was a longstanding activist in PEN Croatia and the Croatian Writers' Association, as well in numerous free speech and human rights campaigns. A major theme of her writing, which included a dozen novels and some 30 plays, "has been the overlooked (or deliberately omitted) complicity of her native Croatia in the Holocaust, expressed in a style that has been described by critics as 'neo-Borgesian.' "
Her works have been translated into 15 languages, and three novels are available in English: Trieste (2012, first published in Croatian as Sonnenschein in 2007), translated by Ellen Elias-Bursać; Leica Format (2009, first published in 2003) and Belladonna (2017, first published in 2015), both translated by Celia Hawkesworth, who is currently working on Doppelgänger (2002), scheduled for publication in English in September.
Calling Franz Kafka, Thomas Bernhard and Elfriede Jelinek her inspirations, Drndić said of her writing: "I use fiction and faction--transcripts, photographs, documents and I twist them. I enjoy myself, twisting these realities."
Drndić "was delighted to be shortlisted for the Independent foreign fiction prize in 2013," the Guardian wrote, "and to learn earlier this year that Belladonna was a finalist in the new European Bank for Reconstruction and Development award. Characteristically, and knowing she was dying, she used the prize money to host a farewell party in her favorite Rijeka bookshop."