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.