Drazan Gunjaca Balkan Farewells



Balkan Farewells
- book on-line
- editor's note
- introduction
- review

- Balkan Farewells
- The Balkan Roulette
- The Shade of Reason
- Love as punishment
- Half-way o heaven
- Good night my friends
- Dreams have no price
- We are all brothers
The Balkan aquarelle


This novel before you is a continuation of the novel "Halfway to Heaven", which I wrote more than twenty years ago, with more or less the same characters, who then lived in another time and environment, in another state, which has ceased to exist. It referred to the period from 1978 to 1983. I never published it, although I could have, and was tempted to do so, but, well, there you have it -- I didn't, for personal reasons. The novel "Balkan Farewells" is basically a sequel to the first novel, "Halfway to Heaven".
Twenty years after this first novel, more exactly on the 3rd of June 2001, I read that the well known actor Anthony Quinn had passed away; I remembered his unforgettable role in the film "Zorba the Greek", remembered all the tragedies that ran through that film, and began to write this novel. Why this occurred in this manner, I leave each to decide for his or herself.
This novel has only ten chapters, and given the material available, it could equally well have had thirty. It seemed to me, however, that I had said all I wanted in these ten chapters, and anything else or rather more than this would in a way merely be repeating similar, already described fates. The novel treats the war period from 1991 to 1994, the destinies of people in those turbulent times in these Balkan regions.
I intend to write the third part, perhaps soon, and perhaps in another twenty years (if I survive them), describing the period from 1995 to 2001, but I am not certain whether anything will be published other than this novel. We shall see.
I would like to thank all the people who provided the basis for the events of this novel, particularly my friend Luka, without whom chapter V wouldn't be the way it is. And to all whom I knew that are no longer among us, let the soil rest lightly on them wherever they are buried. Only because of them do I truly believe that an afterlife exists, in whatever form, as they deserve it.
Finally, if someone finds a little piece of themselves in this novel, their past or the past of some person close to them, or if for whatever reason identifies themselves with one of the characters, I hope that will be a good reason to once again read this novel and contemplate all that happened in this region. Simply so that what is described here, if there is a God, does not happen again. At least not during our lifetimes and the lifetimes of those for whom we care. And other than sincere wishes, nothing else remains anyway for me personally and for those similar to me.

Pula, August 2001

The Author