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the Complete Review
the complete review - fiction

The Club of True Creators

Milan Tripković

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To purchase The Club of True Creators

Title: The Club of True Creators
Author: Milan Tripković
Genre: Novel
Written: 2022 (Eng. 2023)
Length: 194 pages
Original in: Serbian
Availability: The Club of True Creators - US
The Club of True Creators - UK
The Club of True Creators - Canada
from: Bookshop.org (US)
directly from: Rossum Press
  • Serbian title: Klub istinskih stvaralaca

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Our Assessment:

B : decent if a bit thin mix of action and satire in contemporary Serbia

See our review for fuller assessment.

Review Summaries
Source Rating Date Reviewer
Vreme . 5/10/2022 Teofil Pančić

  From the Reviews:
  • "Posebno valja naglasiti piščevu besprekornu kontrolu nad fabuliranjem i nad saspensom, ali i komediografsku karakterizaciju likova kakva je retkost i dragocenost kod savremenih pisaca našeg jezika (.....) I još nešto je važan deo te besprekornosti: mada je jasno na čijoj su strani generalne svetonazorske simpatije autorove, a ko je tu na onoj tamnoj strani, svi će podjednako proći kroz satirički tretman, jer to dobra književnost neminovno radi, to joj je u naravi kao ubod škorpiji: i ove i ovi sa “svetle” strane jednog dalekosežnog raskola biće prikazani u svim dimenzijama svoje ljudskosti, a koje nisu uvek laskave i uzvišene." - Teofil Pančić, Vreme

Please note that these ratings solely represent the complete review's biased interpretation and subjective opinion of the actual reviews and do not claim to accurately reflect or represent the views of the reviewers. Similarly the illustrative quotes chosen here are merely those the complete review subjectively believes represent the tenor and judgment of the review as a whole. We acknowledge (and remind and warn you) that they may, in fact, be entirely unrepresentative of the actual reviews by any other measure.

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The complete review's Review:

       The Club of True Creators has two main storylines. One follows Vojislav 'Voja' Počuča, a writer in his late fifties who sees himself as: "the beacon, the creator of new realms, burdened with a genius comparable only to Pavić in the Serbian canon" and is founder of the Novi Sad artists' association, the Club of True Creators -- though it's Facebook group still has no members other than Voja ..... The other involves Nataša Žarković, who sees herself as: "a professional fighter for justice"; she runs down a man -- while he is walking with Voja -- in her car, and then goes on the run with Milonja Šoškić, the: "famous Eliot Ness of Novi Sad", who: "might be the finest detective the Novi Sad PD has ever had" and is so married to the job that he's been through four failed marriages.
       The man Nataša ran down -- not accidentally -- is Rajko Pešut, an agent of the BIA, the Serbian national intelligence agency. Accused of war crimes, the hearings in his case have continuously been postponed, and she: "wanted to remind him that his crimes are not forgotten. That he can never rest easy". Worried about her safety, Milonja takes her into hiding -- with, indeed, the BIA hot on their trail.
       The novel is narrated in the first-person plural, a not quite omniscient 'we' following the action. There's some charm to this approach, especially when the 'we' is ... trying to follow the action, but can't be quite certain where the real action will be:

     Now this is a dilemma, we find. Looking left, then looking right. Who do we follow ? They're all only getting further away, and the chapter will simply end if we don't ...
     "Let's follow Maja !" someone shouts, just in the nick of time, "She's alone after all, and the least we can do is escort her home, since it's so late and her street is, like, eerily dark." And it is. Very eerie, very dark.
     So now we're hurrying after her, hoping to catch up. And there she is !
       They choose the right character to follow, in this case, as Voja and some of his Club-colleagues -- "three éminences grises of Serbian literature" -- have also set their sights on Maja, upset about some of what she has written, accusing her of being: "a dedicated critic of Truth, and a missionary of empty European culture, aiming to destroy everything that's authentically ours". They take this very seriously, and want to set Maja right, but their own infighting complicates matters; as with most everything to do with this Club, their efforts prove rather ineffective. Maja escapes their clutches -- and they get theirs, eventually.
       The Club of True Creators is (intentionally) more comic than dramatic. There's a serious edge to the satire, too, not least regarding Serbian national pride and the how the nation deals with its history, both distant and recent. (Footnotes also clear up some of the Serbia-specific mentions and allusions for foreign readers.)
       It's fairly good fun and quite entertaining, if a bit loose and spread somewhat thin; the various storylines and main characters could easily do with more development and depth.
       Note: no translator is credited in the book -- and the Rossum Press site explains that:
Using a system of AI-assisted team translation, our skilled editors are able to create high quality literary translations with a fraction of the resources which traditional methods require.

Every word of the AI-generated draft translation is carefully weighed by a professional stylist of the target language, and we work closely with our authors at every step along the way.
       The translation is perfectly fine -- it does need read machine-generated, and is as adequate as the vast majority of translations of popular East European fiction in translation I've come across are (and better than quite a few); it passes the translation-equivalent of the Turing-test. (And, yes, like it or not, this is the future of even 'literary' translation, at least of popular fiction .....)

- M.A.Orthofer, 15 March 2024

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The Club of True Creators: Reviews: Other books of interest under review:

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About the Author:

       Serbian author Milan Tripković was born in 1977.

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© 2024 the complete review

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