Vitomir Teofilović:


Each account we give on any intellectual creation rests not only upon the object field, references there given, but in our minds we also have the content of previous experiences and everything written on the subject matter and the theme before the writer, before the specific work.

Therefore, my short account on THE KISS by Milan Nešić opens with a literary association. It is not here by mere chance, the very beginning of this Nešić’s collection — a novel I would say — brings a melodramatic subject matter, certain sentiment and romance, chastity and beauty of feelings of adult people reflecting on their original beginnings, unfulfilled romance told by folk tradition as well and as I am here as a humorist calf love never sinks into oblivion. The above mentioned association is a story by William Saroyan of two young people in love by the river, who feel something special, something no one has felt before. Thinking of saving the moment of eternal beauty and exceptional romance, they look at each other and feel the same craving for jumping into the river. Of course, they don’t jump. The next moment they realize they are nothing special, they are just like hundreds of people walking by the river they have spotted for the first time.

Likewise, in the novel we are facing, the initial sentiment, eternal purity of feelings, following the plot recasts into a story belonging to this world, not to glory. In other words, mentioning psychology when talking of Milan Nešić has not always been there by chance, he knows nonexistent things do not exist: there is a shadow over the most ideal, there are some relations, there is something to keep us from being what, in our deepest projection, we imagine we could or should be. Dramatics of circumstances around us, various hindrances, of course, but I would go a little further: I think it is not the most important, especially not for the characters we are facing, because one by one these obstacles are being bridged and that is what makes this book psychologically interesting and when they get the bit between their teeth, when they de jure free themselves from family considerations, they are not together any more. And from now on, the novel goes on saddening the readers who want more romance so badly, in literature at least — unexpectedly, they meet again, the story continues. But how? Reproaches go around, where are you, why did you, why didn’t you, and why and how, the magic formerly developed declines and like those two young in Saroyan’s story who did not jump into the river to save the beauty of the feeling these two people did not enter the happiness they longed for.

This is the association I think would be worth linking with a note by one of the greatest writers of all times Dostoyevsky the note that we cannot love another being, but why? Because we cannot become detached from ourselves. Egoism is what cuts everything down to a certain measure, much lesser than the one we sometimes think of as having metaphysical plane.

From the poetical point of view, as I have already mentioned, this is partly a melodrama, then it switches to veristic expression and eventually fine modern manner reveals epistle, archives, court procedure reports, and so on – all of it showing us we shouldn’t be angry with the writer, or characters doing this or that, that writer is not to blame because that’s the way life goes. On the other hand, as modern readers we know that this verism, all those court reports and letters are artificial act so that in this multiplicity of experience we can be pleased to say we have been presented with a nice and interesting book.

(Translated by Prendić Dubravka

prendicd@eunet.yu )

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