Book Review – The Loss Library and Other Unfinished Stories


The Loss Library and Other Unfinished Stories by Ivan Vladislavic (Struik) ISBN 078-1-4152-0162-6

This is a very thought provoking little book.

I enjoyed one of his earlier stories “The Folly”.  It inspired me to write something similar but on a different subject.  This author makes you think.  Sometimes you have to go back to what you have just read and read it slowly. His opening paragraph has stayed with me and I don’t know why. “The writer, on his last walk, through a winter landscape, is going towards his favourite view, and he means to turn back once he has seen it, but he will die before he gets there.”

The Library of the Damned are not allowed to touch any of the books in the Library. A hell that I can’t even imagine.  A moment that is frozen in my mind is about Freucher who hacked his way out of an ice cave in which a snowstorm had entombed him, using a hand-crafted chisel fashioned by his own frozen excrement.  And the inherited grey trunks that sit sullenly in his spare room.

It gave me goose pimples and yet I delighted in every page because what the author is saying is making me take life less for granted.  Ivan Vladislavic has an enormous intellect and insight into things that we miss in our ordinary days. I really enjoyed this work for what it is and for what it is not.

Dee Andrew
4/5