The reader has no other option but to surrender to the magic of the storytelling. Because “the impression left after reading is one of pleasure, leading us to conclude that Urošević’s prose is beautiful “ – states Milenko Pajić5 in one of his essays. Furthermore, he points to the main features of his prose, such as: the ease of writing, atmosphere and enumerating. He says that Urošević writes with ease, yet he also rightfully warns that we should not look at it as superficiality or simplicity of narration, but rather it is an “ease that deceives” or a “seeming ease”, a specific breeziness akin to Kundera’s “unbearable lightness of being”. Furthermore, according to Pajich, the atmosphere in the short stories by Urošević is “achieved in a masterly manner, with several brusk and skillful strokes aided by his original and characteristic attention to detail”. In fact, for Urošević himself, the atmosphere represents the “pinnacle of prose craftsmanship”, the thing which “envelops the story and gives its specificity”.6 With regards to creating the atmosphere, our author does not hide the influence of his favorite writer Bruno Schulz, whose style is discernible both in the literary act or stylistic figure of enumeration. Urošević is considered to be “a master of enumeration” (M. Pajich); the act of hoarding and storing objects occurs quite often in his short stories as a testimony to the author’s almost child-like’s curiosity and vivid imagination in creating “constellations of small things” (following Leonid Šejka’s phrase) on one hand, while on the other this also alludes to the search of the Surrealists for the “magical object”. Illustration of this can be found in short stories, such as: “The Daughter of the Antiquarian”, “The Antique Shop in Thessaloniki”, “The Shop of Illusions”, etc.
“Here there were weapons of all kinds – long flintlock rifles, pistols with filigree decorated handles, artistically crafted knives, sabers with tassels hanging from the hilts; there were lamps, Russian samovars, clocks with pendulums, spyglasses, powder horns, censers, crosses, ship’s bells, sand clepsydras, snuff boxes, rings, keys, little boxes, fans, glasses, monocles, medals, gaslights, heads of old porcelain dolls, distaffs, icons, earrings, clasps, compasses, candlesticks, necklaces, weights, pendulums, locks, cigarette boxes, bracelets, hat pins, rosaries, uniform buttons, seals, epaulets, spurs, thimbles, medallions, lighters, ebony chess pieces, Muslim amulets called the Hand of Fatima, faded postcards, old coins…“
(“The Antique Shop in Thessaloniki”)
This lavish list of things both ordinary and unusual is fascinating, as is the supreme artificiality that is the characteristic of the style of our Vlada Urošević who, when discussing about a similar feature in the prose writing of Dimitrie Duracovski, elaborated the following: “In this sequence of curiosities, we can recognize the affection for extravagant collections characteristic for the excessively rich and splenetic English noblemen appearing in Edgar Allan Poe’s stories, then – drawing from reality and history – the stories about the “Cabinet of Curiosities” of the Emperor Rudolph II housed in Hradchin Castle in Prague, the exotic panopticum comprised by the shop windows along the Streets of Crocodiles created by Bruno Schulz, the hoarding of all kinds of waste in the studio of Kurt Schwitters, the leading figure of the Hanover Dada, intended as parts of a grandiose art project, but also the collections of unwanted and discarded objects from the paintings of Leonid Šejka and the assemblages of Olja Ivanicki, created during the heyday of the Mediala art group’”.7
These insights have undoubtedly an auto-referential character and are a telling example of the wondrous symbiosis of the writer Vlada Urošević (homo-fabulus) and the theoretician and essayist Urošević (homo-poeticus), the ultimate scholar and connoisseur of various diferent areas in the fields of culture, arts and sciences… The act of enumeration plays an important role in the intensification of the visual effects in his prose fiction, which are otherwise marked by formidable, almost cinematic narration. Discussing the “painter’s imagination” of Vlada Urošević in his eponymous essay, Svetozar Brkić also looks at the phenomenon of “enumerated objects”, a phenomenon which according to him, also expands the web of associations not only to the ancient and the modern world of the Eastern Mediterranean, Egypt, Greece, and not only to the exotic originating from other continents, but also to include human thought and the achievement of tracking the movements and the paths of the stars.8
„All the attics from our childhood, all the islands with buried treasures, all the caves with hidden wealth were gathered here: the times and spaces intermingled in the most impossible ways, epochs, centuries, empires and armies all were mixed in a new and chaotic history with a will of its own all in an archeology free from any scientific exactness and left at the will of the lunacy of the dream.”
(расказ „Старинарница во Солун“)
Over the map of the imagination, this author with his pen draws the outlines of a Borgesian labyrinth that envelops the past and future, dream and reality, erudition and fiction, the human world and the world of the stars. Just like any other supreme master of the labyrinth who possesses Ariadne’s thread that controls the entry and exit to it, “he offers you a ticket to a dreamlike journey through time and space” (as it is written on the jacket of his book Childhood, Summer, City).
2. The trappings of time and space
„Space is something that may interest me more as a topos than as a space-time relation. It seems to me that, especially in my prose, I’m a writer of space” – declares Vlada Urošević in his conversations with Vladimir Jankovski and then further explains: “In this everyday life of ours, parallel to the common space that we know, there is another, secret space which can be entered in certain moments and which then provides us with a different type of experience. I think that the feeling of the existence of parallel spaces, the common and the secret space that very often interweave the boundaries of which, I repeat myself here from my poem ‘Another Different City’, are not always visible, this feeling has persisted with me since my youth and has occurred exactly in relation to Skopje. I have always thought that it’s possible to enter through one of those small narrow Skopje alleyways (…) into a different world. This is one of the key ideas that have shaped most of my short stories. This probably was born out of my need to escape everyday life, to break away, but not completely, from reality (…) So, there is still a desire to remain in this space, but also to be able to discover within it possibilities for other alternative forms of it “.9
5 Миленко Пајиќ, „Роднината Емилија“. Разгледи (темат: В. Урошевиќ), оп. цит., стр. 174.
6 Миленко Пајиќ, „Роднината Емилија“. Разгледи (темат: В. Урошевиќ), оп. цит., стр. 174.
7 С. Бркиќ, „Сликарската имагинација на В. Урошевиќ“, Разгледи (темат: В. Урошевиќ), оп. цит, стр. 156.
8 С. Бркиќ, „Сликарската имагинација на В. Урошевиќ“, Разгледи (темат: В. Урошевиќ), оп. цит, стр. 156.
9 В. Јанковски, Огледало на загатката (разговори со В. Урошевиќ), оп.цит., стр. 65-66.