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The Shadow of This Morning’s Desire

Posted on | January 13, 2011 | 2 Comments


The city is beautiful this morning.

A chilly midwinter mist collides with the harsh grey-white rays of the waking Sun, sprawling across the cityscape like a transparent canvas. Short snippets whiz by, across the wide viewport opening above my gloved hands as they grip the steering wheel. Here, the grey shadow of a bridge is silhouetted against the brushed-metal sky with the skeleton of a construction site rearing in the background; cars and trucks are crossing it; a bird slowly and ponderously takes flight. There, the tower of Ušće, afloat on a cloud, like a castle suspended in mid-air, straining against its tethers to balloon away into the fluffy heights. Right next to it, on a grassy field of puddled mud, two dogs lie motionless, perhaps sleeping, hunting the first icy fangs of the morning Sun. Perhaps dead.

I turn the Zepp to eleven and gun the engine, ripping down the wide boulevards to soak in the faerie ambiance before the morninglight regains its full power and unweaves the mystery. Gripping the sensation firmly before it inevitably slips away and becomes just another bleary-eyed day of exile from the house, shopping and running errands while the cleaning lady dents my favorite ukulele or rips another hole in the So British patterned PVC floor of our kitchen.

And that, right there, is the core of the experience reading Shadow of our Desire (“Senka naše želje”) by Darko Tuševljaković. The sensation of trying to hang on to a thing slipping away, of hazy childhood dreams and sensations, sense of wonder becoming blurred away by the awkward world of adult responsibilities, of a time of magic and fantasy becoming a gnarly neorealist’s wet dream. Much like the protagonist, I was a child of the flatlands, of the infinite rows of deutscher houses and swampy little networks of rivers, rivulets and lakes, growing up in a localized version of a default stephenkingian setting template, a world of petty desires and squabbles, of people drinking themselves into oblivion and fucking around for the simple lack of anything else to do, of people leaving, never to return and people returning, sometimes to visit, never to remain, people utterly changed and unrecognizable after exposure to the outside. Becoming aliens at home. Awkward, ill-adapted, twisted creatures, their form familiar, yet their essence somehow palpably altered, their shadows, our shadows, alive, tentacling out to infect the next generation to be lost to the siren’s call of a life beyond the infinite, rolling plains of their childhood.

In some ways, this is a book I wanted to write, a record and reflection on the process of being a child in a particular and peculiar time and space, and of becoming an adult elsewhere. But I guess now I can focus on writing gratuitous zombies-in-outer-space pulp, knowing full well that the job was done, and done well.

Ah, there.

The Sun is fully up.

And so are the dogs.

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    Written in minutes and fact-checked in seconds via Google. May contain unsafe levels of self-righteousness. Past cleverness is no guarantee of future results.
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