Winner of the HKW Internationaler Literaturpreis
Shortlisted for the 2023 Dublin Literary Award
Love in late capitalism: Ivana Sajko takes us to the frontlines of a war waged between kitchen and bedroom.
He, an unemployed Dante scholar, trying to change the world and write a novel. She, once a passable actress with a vaguely rewarding theater job, now a stay-at-home mom. He is delirious with dreams of grandeur; she is on edge, a detonator bomb with a dirty laundry trigger. The rent is late, the neighbor caviling, the government astoundingly callous: with violence looming on all sides, husband and wife circle one another in a dizzying dance towards the abyss.
Intense and astutely ironic, devastating and darkly comic, Ivana Sajko’s Love Novel takes a scalpel to the heart of modern married life.
Praise for Love Novel
“Sajko takes no prisoners . . . [Love Novel] gloriously marries sociopolitical commentary on failed capitalism in a failed state to the inevitability of failed marriage, locating the narrative in an extraordinary violence of mind and body . . . Matching form with content, it depicts lives that involve walking constantly on tightropes with a ferocity of prose that allows no breathing space, consummately conveying the claustrophobic existence of the characters as external as well as personal circumstances close in on them.”
—Dublin Literary Award Judges’ Citation
“A devastating book, humane, original, and deeply relevant.”
—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
“A work of startling and brass originality. Sajko never shies away from the broken and crass aspects of being in love. But within this writing, moments of grace and absolute beauty shine through. Moments as exquisite as the ﬁrst falling snowﬂakes that stop you in your tracks.”
—Heather O’Neill, author of When We Lost Our Heads
“Love Novel is not a comfortable read, but it is a timely exploration of socio-economic inequality, a raw confrontation of the pain humans are capable of inflicting on one another, and a fearless engagement with the challenges of poverty and parenthood.”
—Helen Vassallo, Reading in Translation
“A sharp and claustrophobic portrait of a fraying marriage … Sajko never takes her foot off the gas in this potent and incendiary outing.”
“Love Novel is a universal story about passion and poverty that’s told in rich language.”
—Suzanne Kamata, Foreword Reviews
“The interpersonal magic now lost, or at least forgotten, but above all: poisoned by the big bad world ‘out there.’ Ivana Sajko celebrates this sad state of affairs with power and intensity.”
“Breathless, barely punctuated. Her heroes: a nameless couple in a Mediterranean nowhere, devoted to each other in hate. A tough, great novel.”
“A brilliant novel: intense and poetic, exhilarating and devastating.”
—Priya Basil, author of Ishq and Mushq