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Translated from Macedonian by Christina E. Kramer
This short novel by Petar Andonovski, The Summer Without You, tells a complex story of three men enmeshed in a love relationship. It is a novel about the internal struggles, about alienation between partners, about the enduring search for truth. But it is also a novel about family and provincialism. Told in the first person, it leads us into the love triangle among three former friends.
It is an interdependent friendship for at least two of them, the first-person narrator and Vlado, his partner of two decades. The third member, Ivan, was the spark that ignited the friendship among them, but ever since they met in university, Ivan has vanished from time to time, usually at the start of summer. His final departure from the intimate friendship among them causes a crisis in the relationship between the narrator and Vlado.
During the course of a summer vacation on Crete which Vlado has orchestrated to save their relationship we learn more about the three men, and we meet an assortment of others who, in one way or another, are queering their lives, whether through non-traditional relationships, escape from a mundane everyday life, challenging expectations, and confronting difference.
Petar Andonovski was born in 1987, in Kumanovo, north Macedonia. He studied general and comparative literature at the Faculty of Philology, at the University of Cyril and Methodius in Skopje. He has published one poetry collection and four novels. In 2015 his novel The Body One Must Live In won the national award for Novel of the Year. Fear of Barbarians received the 2020 European Union Prize for Literature.
Christina E. Kramer is professor emerita at the University of Toronto. She is the author of numerous books on Macedonian language and the Balkans and a translator of Macedonian literature, including Fear of Barbarians by Petar Andonovski; Freud’s Sister, by Goce Smilevski; My Father’s Books, The Time of the Goats and The Path of the Eels, by Luan Starova; and A Spare Life, by Lidija Dimkovksa.