Seven Stories Press

Works of Radical Imagination

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Winner of the Prix Ulysse for best debut novel in France

Winner in Croatia and the Balkan region of the Kočićevo Pero Award, the Josip and Ivan Kozarac Award, and the Kiklop Award for the best work of fiction

When the Croatian War of Independence breaks out in her hometown of Vukovar in the summer of 1991 the narrator of The Hotel Tito is nine years old, nestled within the embrace of family with her father, her mother, and older brother. She is sent to a seaside vacation to be far from the hostilities. Meanwhile, her father has disappeared while fighting with the Croatian forces. By the time she returns at summer’s end everything has changed. Against the backdrop of genocide (the Vukovar hospital massacre) and the devastation of middle class society within the Yugoslav Federation, our young narrator, now with her mother and brother refugees among a sea of refugees, spends the next six years experiencing her own self-discovery and transformation amid unfamiliar surroundings as a displaced person. As she grows from a nine-year old into a sparkling and wonderfully complicated fifteen-year-old, it is as a stranger in her own land.

Applauded as the finest work of fiction to appear about the Yugoslav Wars, Ivana Bodrožić’s The Hotel Tito is at its heart a story of a young girl’s coming of age, a reminder that even during times of war—especially during such times—the future rests with those who are the innocent victims and peaceful survivors.

Collected in  

Women in Translation
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“When something important happens in the literary arena, when a really great book is written, it is well worth pausing for a moment to celebrate it and contemplate the arrival of a magnificent new talent.”

“The story of a child’s survival in inconceivable circumstances. This novel touched me to the core”

“Bodrožić has a knack for noticing. Seamlessly, she taps into the perceptiveness of the child’s-eye-view and casts it on the page in crystalline form. To shape these minute details into a smooth and compelling read is a testament to Bodrožić’s talent, a facility mirrored by the capable hands of Elias-Bursac.”

“Wonderful, touching, and terrifying writing.”

“Ivana Bodrožić’s Hotel Tito is powerful tale of human resilience. Dripping with authenticity. Heartbreaking, horrific, but ultimately redemptive. An instant classic. Not just an anti-war novel but a human novel. Wonderful writing and personal insight make Hotel Tito a unique kind masterpiece. A must-read testimony to the human spirit.”

“Powerful and moving.”

“Drawing on personal experience, Bodrožić is remarkably adept at blending a coming-of-age story about a girl who both knows and doesn’t know what’s happening with a starkly, almost matter-of-factly delivered picture of suffering we should not forget.”

“A young girl is caught in the turmoil of adolescence and war.Drawing on her own family's experiences during Yugoslavia's struggle for independence in the 1990s, poet and fiction writer Bodrožić’(The Hole, 2016, etc.) creates a captivating tale that earned acclaim and literary awards when it was published in Europe. Translated by Elias-Bursa?, the story begins when the slyly observant narrator is 9 and suddenly is sent, with her older brother, from their home in Vukovar, on the Croatian-Serbian border, to the seashore. Although her parents do not explain why, she has "a sneaking feeling it has to do with politics because everybody talks about politics all the time." A few weeks later, the children's mother arrives, but their father remains in Vukovar to defend Croatia against the Serbs, a long siege that ends in the imprisonment—and, the family later learns, the murder—of 400 men, her father among them. The remaining family members become refugees, housed in one shabby room at the former Political School in Kumrovec, which they sardonically dub the Hotel Tito, after longtime Yugoslav president Josip Broz Tito, a native of that city. Living on a meager displaced family's allowance, they find a community consisting only of other refugees. Repeatedly, they petition the government for an apartment. "Believe me," the mother writes, "it is much harder for the families of the missing because there are things we can never accept, and the uncertainty is crushing us." Equally crushing is widespread disdain toward refugees. Against the backdrop of political news and rumors, the narrator grows up, setting aside Barbie dolls for disco clubs, dealing with jealousy, hurt feelings, her brother's volatile anger, her mother's depression, and her own mysterious emotions. "How cool it was to be all melancholy and sighs," she reflects. Desperate to leave the Hotel Tito, she is elated when her excellent grades make her eligible for a fine secondary school in the capital city of Zagreb. In the new setting, though beset by grief and fear, she is buoyed by hope.Tragic history conveyed with honesty and candor.”

blog — August 02

Women in Translation: Announcing a Week-Long Sale and a New Bookseller Initiative

Back in June, after we announced a special offer for Pride Month, Eileen Dengler, executive director of the North Atlantic Independent Booksellers Association (NAIBA) reached out to me asking if we could find a way to include booksellers directly in these kinds of initiatives. I was intrigued, and excited. I reached out to our sales team at Penguin Random House, and right away they were excited too. The result, beginning today, is what we hope will be a monthly partnership in which Seven Stories creates special themed collections and PRH offers these titles to booksellers at a special 51% discount for the entire month. Within that span, Seven Stories will also feature these collections for one week at a time online, hopefully building awareness of these titles—beginning today with “Women in Translation” since it is Women in Translation month, and the other, beginning August 15, “For Human Rights, Against War,” featuring a number of our most widely read political titles. We’ll discount these titles online, but only in such a way that booksellers can experiment with matching our discount if they so wish, thanks to the additional trade discount they receive.

We don’t know if this is exactly the right model. What we know is that a lot about it feels right, and we’ll keep experimenting until we find the model that is right for booksellers and publishers alike. If we can do that, then others will follow us.

If you have a local independent bookstore, shop there before you shop on our site, and remember that we provide a free e-book of every book that you buy from us online. If you buy one of the books from the collection at an independent bookstore, email a picture of your receipt to sevenstories@sevenstories.com to get a free e-book and updates from Seven Stories.

—Dan Simon, Publisher
Seven Stories Press

Here are the seven award-winning titles from our Women in Translation series, all at 35% off through August 8th. Free shipping within the U.S.!

1. The Hotel Tito: A Novel, by Ivana Bodrožić, translated by Ellen-Elias Bursać

Applauded as the finest work of fiction to appear about the Yugoslav Wars, acclaimed poet and novelist Ivana Bodrožić’s The Hotel Tito is at its heart a story of a young girl’s coming of age, a reminder that even during times of war—especially during such times—the future rests with those who are the innocent victims and peaceful survivors.

2. The Tongue’s Blood Does Not Run Dry: Algerian Stories, by Assia Djebar, translated by Tegan Raleigh

In these short stories, Djebar presents a brutal yet delicate exposition of how warring worlds enact their battles upon women’s lives and bodies.

3. The Ages of Lulu: A Novel, by Almudena Grandes, translated by Sonia Soto

The lurid and compelling story of the sexual awakening of a girl long fascinated by the thin line separating decency and morality from perversion, but whose increasingly dangerous sexual forays threaten to engulf her completely.

4. Syrian Dust: Reporting from the Heart of the War, by Francesca Borri, translated by Anne Milano Appel

In moving, powerful prose, Syrian Dust is a record of a freelance war reporter confronting the many-factioned conflict being fought against Bashar al Assad.

5. The Years, by Annie Ernaux, translated by Alison L. Strayer

The Years is a personal narrative of the period 1941 to 2006 told through the lens of memory, impressions of past and present—even projections into the future—photos, books, songs, radio, television and decades of advertising, headlines, contrasted with intimate conflicts and writing notes from six decades.

6. Natural Histories, by Guadalupe Nettel, translated by J.T. Lichtenstein

Five dark and delicately written stories by international award-winner Guadalupe Nettel unfold in fragile worlds, where Siamese fighting fish, cockroaches, a cat, a snake, and a strange fungus are mirrors that reflect the unconfessable aspects of human nature we keep hidden.

7. The Little Communist Who Never Smiled, by Lola Lafon, translated by Nick Caistor

Adored by young girls in the west and appropriated as a political emblem by the Ceausescu regime, Comaneci’s life was scrutinized wherever she went, her body seemingly no longer her own. Lafon’s ficitionalized account shows how an extraordinary athlete mesmerizes the world, her fate reverberating across nations.

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IVANA BODROŽIĆ was born in Vukovar in 1982 where she lived until the Yugoslav wars started in 1991 when she then moved to Kumrovec where she stayed with her family at a hotel for displaced persons. She studied at the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences in Zagreb. In 2005, she published her first poetry collection, entitled Prvi korak u tamu (The First Step into Darkness). Her first novel Hotel Zagorje (Hotel Tito) was published in 2010, receiving high praise from both critics and audiences and becoming a Croatian bestseller. She has since published her second poetry collection Prijelaz za divlje životinje (A Crossing for Wild Animals) and a short story collection 100% pamuk (100% Cotton), which has also won a regional award. Her most recent novel, the political thriller Hole, has sparked controversy and curiosity among Croatian readers.