Seven Stories Press

Works of Radical Imagination

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When the Croatian War of Independence breaks out in her hometown of Vukovar in the summer of 1991 she 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.

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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.”

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.