About the author

The Alchemist of Words

A poet, a storyteller, a novelist, an essayist and an aphorist, Veselin Lari Mišnić announced his arrival to the former Yugoslav literature as an eighteen year old with his book of poems „Magical Charms“.

With his first work Mišnić implied that he himself was the poet of unquestional talent and skill, he suggestively showed that he had the mark of rare and authentic protégés of muses and the alchemists of words. Later on, the books with more shapely poetic intesity and maturity followed, like a springboard leading into a literary existance: „Sick Chameleon“ (1981.), „Memories from the Cage“ (1982.), „The Drawer of Circles“ (1983.). With his collection of short stories „Legends about Insanity“ (1987.) Mišnić indentified himself as an outstanding author of fictional prose who could brilliantly utilize inheritence of national wisdom, synthesize it successfully and build it up with his lavish and literary disciplined imagination.

With his novel „Sculptor Gabriel's Illness“ (1989.) the author proved himself to be one of significant narrators of longer literary form and with this work he established himself as an inevitable donor to the pantheon of novelists on who the Serbian literature should count. With his short but powerful and striking novel of fictional narrative content „Abyss“(1992.), as well as with his collection of fictional short-stories „Three Young Men in a Red-Hot Furnace“ (1993.), Mišnić as a connoisseur of magical regions of shadows, mirrors of life, and infinite yearning, marked himself as an author whom no one of choosy anthologists of Serbian phantasmagoria couldn't overlook, even if he/she wanted to. Afterwards, with his collections of poems „To Her Midnight Executioners“ (1989.) and „Gods and Rats“ (1992.), as well as with his latest „Shots from the Bottom of the Hearth“ (2001.) the poet indelibly formed the way of his lyrical understaning of dreams and ascents and for an octave higher he emphasized his distinguishable voice among the best poets of this region. In his most thorough and for our literature capital work, a trilogy „Novels in Dust“ (1997,1998,1999.), which had several editions, he told a saga about human unexpected intertwined destinies, great loves, and suffering; the world of Marquez is depicted, the one from hundred years of solitude, the world that exists no more, because we are carrying it in ourselves like God's greatest gift, but we also carry it away forever to the realm of dreams and memories.

Three great novels each one about 200 pages long and 51 novels in dust made, in conceptual sense, this book unique, modern and original creation, which is by its form and content step out of all known writerly cliches and continued its way from one into another millennium. Mišnić with this marvelous book only added one more diamond to his literary creative diadem and showed that this particular work could not be easily bounded by the chains of literary principles and the principles of genre.

The book of aphorisms „Cherries in the colour of Rotten Sour Cherry“ (1999.), „Galapagos Turtles“ (2000.) had undeniably proclaimed the basic circle of Mišnić's creative diversity and introduced him as an excellent satirist of a rarely strong and sarcastic-ironical breed on whose reflections could count on not only compilers of aphoristic anthologies but also the carvers of mind into those eternal blocks of granite and albums of spirit.

Afterwards „The Face of God, the Hearth of God“ (2002.) it can be said to be a bit unexpected piece, but the person who followed the work of this universal author couldn't be taken by surprise, because each and every of his new creations is a surprise in itself. This collection of philosophic anthropological essays was somewhat intoned by Sioran, (Short Display of Decay), by Dučić (Emperor Radovan's Treasure and i The Letters from Leutar) and Andrić (Signs by the Road). His latest novel „The Big and the Little Prince“(2003.) the novel of return of the “little prince” in an amazing way revived this Exupéry's eternal story a century later.

The spirit of the well-known tale about “The Little Prince” was again realized in this novel but in one new and original way in which we could recognize Mišnić's philosophy of life. And finally, in the end, or in the beginning, who could tell when we deal with this particular author the novel „Sadistic Design“ (2004., 2005.) story about passions and dreams of generations who while thinking to live in a fairy tale predicted that the fairy tale was “bloody” and in the moment of waking up realized that they all were, without exception, attached to life sustaining devices and that the beauty appeared in dreams, while everything was different in reality.

It is hard to believe that one could go further in the realm of fictional writing, except the possible acknowledgement of vertical spiritual ascension which very few authors of Mišnić's generation could pride on.

For the critics who focus their view on artistic creation of Veselin Lari Mišnić it must be somewhat surprising the fact that this author continually achieves advancement, ratifies them over and over again, and constantly indentifies himself in the literature of his time which was and today is ominously contaminated with ephemeral literary styles and the other, entirely unrefined syndromes.

Literary devotees, its interpreters strict historians from near and distant future would have to place Mišnić among the elite literary authors after World War II, while at the same time into the tumultuous 20th century. Surely, this course continued in this century, the century of new hopes and new beginnings.

It is obvious that one cannot avoid or overlook the thing which loudly states Mišnić's tall writerly figure of a modern Serbian literature and his unusual voice is permanently present in the hearing and lives of many followers of linguistic art. Yugoslav, and nowadays anthologies of poetry in Serbia and Montenegro, narrative prose, aphorisms and narrower, first-class choice of novels could hardly be pictured without his work and every exclusion would only cause damage to the criterion of anthologists themselves and editors.

Motive foundation of Mišnić's poetic as well as prose creative work is the power of love, its energy, just like the thematic outline of his prose work is fluid originator of life, while heroes are individualized only in relation to the energy quantum which they posses within themselves. Archetypal pictures, universals of imagination and mind, raging passions strong as a storm, inner darkness and the fire of the universe in a man's soul, they all are, in fact, main characters of entire Mišnić's work. That gallery is impressively rich and suggestively depicted.

Mišnić is a skilled master of illustrating the areas of a human soul ant those are landscapes which interest him, and he paints them with all the colours he can using the palette of human sense and nonsense. That is how in his poetics exist love and hate at the same time as an important slope of human soul, that is why there are so many life juices, abundant overflow, and yet a lot of sandy deserts, too. The solver of labyrinths of life's secrets, Mišnić never recommends surrender, but existence, always a new start into the adventure of meaning, although he knows that the meaning itself doesn't exist if we don't make it ourselves.

That is why Veselin Mišnić is the creator of sense in the realm of artistic illusions, because the beauty in art exists, like Schopenhauer used to say, to endure the ugliness of life easier. Art is the anesthetic for painful reality and Mišnić through his work makes life easier by injecting new pictures of unique beauty and authentic artistic strength over and over again. That is the vitality of his and every other real art which through its beauty saves the world. While there is an inclination for that kind of liberating efforts and while there are artists like Mišnić, the world won't be destroyed.

Jovica Stojanović


The Suffering of Gabriel the Sculptor

The Suffering of Gabriel the Sculptor

Since he has been in hospital, Gabriel with the skill of a conjurer steals knives and scalpels. With them, he slits the veins in his forearm to squeeze out the stone dust that has formed into clots, which shackle his joints at the slightest twitch of the hand. [read more]