The world of Radovan Beli Marković’s superbly written short stories comprises the familiar and the strange, the known and the unknown, the local and the universal. Their topography coincides with the one found on maps, but the fairytale-like cruelty encountered in the villages and towns places them in the realm of the imaginary. The characters inhabiting them are rendered as refl ections in a papermirror, distorted just enough to reveal that which lies beneath the surface, appealing to an onlooker as much as flesh stripped of skin. He knows the nature and mentality of his neighbors, his peasants and his compatriots to the last unpleasant detail, but he will not mock or criticize them, he rather tries to understand and to sympathize with them, for their lot is marked by brutality and bad fortune.
“In the narratives in this book, the reader will see how the short prose form can be used for the most complex penetration into the sphere of so-called reality, based equally on the empirical and on the readership’s own experience and literary memory… It seems that Radovan Beli Marković is one of those literary inventors who harmonizes the principles of the lyrical and the narrative, proving quite successfully that almost nothing separates the two.”
“Nowadays, although everyone writes short stories, only a few people do so successfully. Radovan Beli Marković is one of those rarities.”
Radovan Beli Markovic (b. in the village of Celije near Lazarevac, 1947), was educated in Lajkovac, Lazarevac and Belgrade. He was a journalist at the “Napred” daily newspaper and afterward, till retirement he was the director of the Municipal Library of Lajkovac. He was a member of the editorial board of important literary magazines, a member of the Serbian Writers’Association and of Serbian PEN. In his literary works and in real life he is inclined toward irony and self-irony, so it is his custom to say that “I finally believed I was a writer when my name showed up in a crossword puzzle”, despite the fact that several studies and doctoral dissertations have been written about his prose. He lives and works in Lajkovac.
He is the author of the novels: Arsonist and Theresa Full of Grace (Palikuca i Tereza milosti puna, 1976), Railroad to Lajkovac (Lajkovacka pruga, 1997), received the Nolit Award and Branko Copic Award; Street lights of Celije (Limunacija u Celijama, 2000), winner of the Meša Selimovic Award for the best novel; The Last Rose of Kolubara (Poslednja ruža Kolubare, 2001); Prince Myshkin in Magnificent Valjevo (Knez Miškin u Belom Valjevu, 2002); Nine White Clouds (Devet belih oblaka, 2003); Pedal Orchestra (Orkestar na pedale, 2004); Old School Cavaliers (Kavaleri starog premera, 2006); Lady Olga (Gospo_a Olga, 2010) which was short-listed for the prestigious NIN Award.
Beli Markovic is the author of several collections of short stories among which are: A Black Cake (Crni kolac, 1985); Swabian Scythe (Švapska kosa, 1989), The Years of Denouement (Godine raspleta, 1992); Settembrini in Kolubara (Setembrini u Kolubari, 1996) for which he won the Andric Award; Old Stories (Stare price, 1999); Little Stories: Vitae Fragmenta (Male price: vitae fragmenta, 1999) the winner of the Bora Stankovic Award; The Blind Side (Corava strana, 2007). Stories authored by Radovan Beli Markovic have been included in several selections and anthologies (in Serbian, German, English, Ukrainian and Macedonian).