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Slavenka Drakulic was born in Croatia in 1949. The author of several works of nonfiction and novels, she has written for The New York Times, The Nation, The New Republic, and numerous publications around the world.
Drakuli'c '(How We Survived Communism and Even Laughed, LJ 3/15/93) has a rare reporting talent. She observes country soil rising from beneath urban asphalt, and she knows how to explain to urbane reader the passions and desires of a marginalized Eastern culture. The specter of an international European community may be a mundane sidebar in Western newspapers, but for Drakuli'c it represents far more. Diapers, royalty, Bucharest toilets, and presumptuous cafés serve as apocryphal symbols in her collection of political essays. To the daughter of an antifascist hero, the West represents the realization that money can transcend the future and that there is more to life than the "living in the present" that communism offered. Rather than using the language of traditional economic and political analysis, Drakuli'c offers the language of everyday life to describe a momentous cultural evolution. This important book from a very talented European writer is highly recommended. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 10/15/96.]‘Mary Hemmings, Univ. of Calgary Lib., Alberta
Drakulic (How We Survived Communism and Even Laughed) notes that Eastern Europeans are so anxious to become like their Western counterparts that every city and town has a Café Europa that is a pale imitation of similar establishments in Paris and Rome. She presents here a collection of essays that explore life in various Eastern European countries since the fall of communism. As a citizen of Croatia (formerly a part of Yugoslavia) living now in Vienna with her Swedish husband, she writes knowingly as a survivor of a communist regime, as one who realizes that pitfalls still lie ahead for nations emerging from the Soviet yoke. In Albania, she observes rage everywhere in people who seem to want to smash all vestiges of the Hoxha regime. In Romania, she comments on the execrable state in which public toilets are maintained: "[T]he standard of Romanian toilets reflects the nature of the communist system of which it is a legacy"; "the absence of any improvement is... a warning for the future of democracy" there. Drakulic's pungent and insightful ruminations not only describe life in her part of the world‘she makes us feel it as well. Author tour. (Feb.)