(Igor Isakovski, “Swimming in the Dust”, Blesok, 2010, 236 p.)
#1 Igor Isakovski is a writer who realizes the prose values that he has decided to reach in a very simple way – the intensity of his creative power is so strong that he is able to use a minimalistic introduction to his story and several dialogue lines to skillfully move the narration and make a twist in it. Something similar also happens when the characters are made in his books – in several simple moves he manages to portray them in their specific individual features. These values of his prose are expressed at their best in his novel “Swimming in the Dust”, first published in 2005. Using the thought of the well-known Macedonian writer Živko Čingo “Only when I am on the road, I know that I live” as his motto, the author writes a fiction type of a road movie (let us not forget this film genre actually comes from the fiction itself, maybe from the famous Kerouac novel), very precisely and sharply depicting an image of a time, relations and plots in which his characters accept their world at the moment when this very world rejects them – at the beginning of the end of the 20th century, and the beginning of the end of a state, at the end of the 90-es, in one of the former Yugoslav republics – Croatia. Thus, when one speaks of “adventure” as a category, attached to this text, it means that this determinant should be understood conditionally and in inverted commas. This is an essentially emptied “adventure”, in which the cramp of the mutual misunderstanding of the main character in his communication with the other transforms into a solidarity or understanding of a higher order. The paradox of this situation is in the fact that the main character of the novel manages in this gray and raw context via his narrative and life position to achieve something that could be called fierce opposition to the banality of the everyday and learn an additional value and wisdom of life and literature from these situations.
Therefore, Isakovski’s novel can be read in the “key” set by Milan Kundera in his “The Art of the Novel”: that the novel is a research of the possibilities of existence in a specific time and specific space. Igor Isakovski explores the final capacities of the possibility that the text covers and defines a world that loses its contours and its values.
This is a novel whose focus is the idea of the quest and it makes the familiar point – each external quest is indeed a quest within, the road to outside and to the Other is at the same time a road to one’s own inner world and a quest for oneself. This quest in “Swimming in the Dust” takes place in a stormy time and space that already feels of war; the authors opposes the Thanatos of this time by the Eros and communication. Isakovski’s novel is a proof not only of sublimed experience that either breaks of restores the human being, but also of the power of the author to turn this experience of his into a fictional endeavor.
Translated from Macedonian: Elizabeta Bakovska