The Bridge

Winner of the 2007 Isidora Sekulic Award
Winner of the Golden Hit Liber Award (given by Serbian National Television to the most prominent prose book published in 2007)
Shortlisted for the 2007 NIN Award

What is the link between red hair, a red bowling ball and a red bikini? Between an overcoat with asymmetrical lapels, a scarf with two blotches and a pair of non-matching sneakers? In this brainteasing trio of stories, Zoran Zivkovic explores the collision of realities: a man encounters an alternate self, a woman out on a shopping trip runs into her dead neighbour and a fourteen-year-old girl chases her seventeen-year-old future son across town. Through absurd predicament, surreal situations and hot pursuit, Zivkovic addresses deep and ultimately poignant questions of fate and chance, the vagaries of human character and the hidden potential which lies within us all.

Editions:

  • Polaris (Serbian and English, 2006)
  • Laguna (Serbian, 2006)
  • Blodnjak (Slovenian, 2008)
  • PS Publishing (English, UK, 2009)
  • Zavod (Serbian and English, 2009, as a part of the Nemoguće priče / Impossible Stories omnibus)
  • Cadmus Press (English, Japan, 2016, as a part of the Impossible Stories II omnibus)

Polaris Serbian edition Polaris English edition Laguna Serbian edition Blodnjak Slovenian edition PS English edition impossible-stories-ii_english_cadmus-press


An excerpt, translated from the Serbian by Alice Copple-Tosic:

I met myself at the entrance to the building where I live. I was just about to go inside after my afternoon walk, when someone pulled the door open from the inside. I stepped back to make room for the person coming out—and stared at my own self.

I recognized myself at once. Not so much by my physical appearance. It’s possible to have a double or a twin brother you don’t know exists. They might even look more like you than you do yourself. Here, however, the clothes removed all doubt. A double or twin brother would not be wearing my dark green raincoat. It was a recent purchase that I had yet to wear because the days were warm, even though it was already autumn.

The raincoat was singular owing to the fact that its lapels were inconsistent: one was narrow, the other wide. This insignificant flaw was why it had been on sale. No one wanted it, even though it was first class in every other respect. The defect didn’t bother me. It was only noticeable if you stared really hard, and I had no reason to expect anyone to give me the once-over.

The recognition had to be mutual, because I looked at me intently for a moment. True, it might not have been quite like standing in front of a mirror, but it would be odd not to recognize yourself on a recently taken photograph, wouldn’t it? And that’s how I acted—as though a stranger was standing in front of the door. I didn’t even nod to myself as a sign of gratitude for standing aside to let me leave, which would have been polite even under these unusual circumstances. I just walked past me and headed down the street.

Bewildered, I stood there for a few moments watching myself walk away and then headed after me. What else could I do? Certainly not go home calmly and pretend that this was nothing out of the ordinary. If for no other reason, I was dying to know where I was going.

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