"Lidija Dimkovska enriches our contemporary museum of literary wonders with her powerful, grotesque, weird details and episodes told within the merry old novelistic tradition."
— Dubravka Ugrešić, author of Baba Laid an Egg
"A Spare Life uses the boldest of metaphors – the life of conjoined twins – to embody the disintegration of the former Yugoslavia. This strange and wonderful novel brings to mind Elena Ferrante and Magda Szabó in the acuity of its social observation and the depth of its mordant humor."— Katie Kitamura, author of The Longshot and A Separation
“Dimkovska has an eye for detail befitting of a poet and the stark, unrelenting prose of a master storyteller.A Spare Life is a weird and wonderful book, capturing the quirk and complexity of both a declining Yugoslavia, and the inseparable lives of two sisters with clarity, wit, and heart.”— Sara Nović, author of Girl at War, finalist for the
Los Angeles Times Book Prize
EXCERPT IN THE FALL ISSUE OF TIN HOUSE
Major U.S. Tour in October
Oct 5: Community Bookstore, Brooklyn, NY
Oct 7: The Ivy Bookstore, Baltimore, MD
Oct 12: Malaprops Bookstore, Asheville, NC
Oct 13: Prairie Lights, Iowa City, IA
Oct 14: Seminary Co-Op, Chicago, IL
Oct 15: Twin Cities Book Festival, Saint Paul, MN
Oct 18: Elliott Bay Bookstore, Seattle, WA
Oct 19: City Lights Bookstore, San Francisco, CA
Oct 20: Diesel, a Bookstore, Oakland, CA
Oct 21: Skylight Books, Los Angeles, CA
Praise for Lidija Dimkovska
“The truth is she’s unstoppable.” — the Poetry Foundation
“English-language readers would be poorer without [her].” — Publishers Weekly
“The direst laugh-out-loud sense of humor around . . . transcendent, dizzying, and not to be missed.” — Boston Review
A coming-of-age saga of two sisters, with an incredible twist . . .
It is 1984, and 12-year-old twins Zlata and Srebra live in communist Yugoslavia. In many ways their lives are like that of young girls anywhere, except for one immense difference: Zlata’s and Srebra’s bodies are conjoined at their heads.
A Spare Life tells the story of their emergence from girls to young adults, from their desperately poor, provincial childhoods to their determination to become successful, independent women. After years of discovery and friendship, their lives are thrown into crisis when an incident threatens to destroy their bond as sisters. They fly to London, determined to be surgically separated—but will this dangerous procedure free them, or only more tightly ensnare them?
In A Spare Life master poet and award-winning novelist Lidija Dimkovska lovingly tells the lives of two astonishing girls caught up in Eastern Europe’s transition from communism to democracy. A saga about families, sisterhood, and being outcasts, A Spare Life reveals an existence where even the simplest of actions is unlike any we’ve ever experienced.
Lidija Dimkovska is the recipient of numerous awards, including the 2013 European Union Prize for Literature for A Spare Life. She is also the author of the poetry collection pH Neutral History (Copper Canyon Press, 2012), which was a finalist for the 2013 Best Translated Book Award, and Do Not Awaken Them With Hammers (Ugly Duckling Presse, 2006). She lives in Ljubljana, Slovenia.
Christina E. Kramer is a professor of Slavic and Balkan languages and linguistics at the University of Toronto. She is the author of numerous books on the Macedonian language and the Balkans and is the translator of Freud’s Sister, The Time of the Goats, and My Father’s Books. She lives in Toronto.