Europe in Sepia is a brilliant collection of essays from one of the most under-appreciated members of the human race, Dubravka Ugreši?. From the unfortunate rise of black stretch pants to European immigration, Croatian nationalism to the value of a writer, Ugreši? tackles all with deft humor and courageous insight. -Erin's Pick, 2/12/14
"Ugresic is sharp, funny and unafraid. . . . Orwell would approve."--Times Literary Supplement
Hurtling between Weltschmerz and wit, drollness and diatribe, entropy and enchantment, it's the juxtaposition at the heart of Dubravka Ugresic's writings that saw Ruth Franklin dub her "the fantasy cultural studies professor you never had." In Europe in Sepia, Ugresic, ever the flaneur, wanders from the Midwest to Zuccotti Park, the Irish Aran Islands to Jerusalem's Mea Shearim, from the tristesse of Dutch housing estates to the riots of south London, charting everything from the listlessness of Central Europe to the ennui of the Low Countries. One finger on the pulse of an exhausted Europe, another in the wounds of postindustrial America, Ugresic trawls the fallout of political failure and the detritus of popular culture, mining each for revelation.
Infused with compassion and melancholic doubt, Europe in Sepia centers on the disappearance of the future, the anxiety that no new utopian visions have emerged from the ruins of communism; that ours is a time of irreducible nostalgia, our surrender to pastism complete. Punctuated by the levity of Ugresic's raucous instinct for the absurd, despair has seldom been so beguiling.
Dubravka Ugresic is the author of several works of fiction and several essay collections, including the NBCC award finalist, Karaoke Culture. She went into exile from Croatia after being label a "witch" for her anti-nationalistic stance during the Yugoslav war. She now resides in the Netherlands.
David Williams did his doctoral research on the post-Yugoslav writings of Dubravka Ugresic and the idea of a "literature of the Eastern European ruins." He is the author of Writing Postcommunism.