Day 24: πŸ‡²πŸ‡° A Spare Life

In a Nutshell:

A coming-of-age epic from Two Lines Press, a publisher of translations.

It is 1984 and twins, Zlata and Srebra, live in communist Yugoslavia, their bodies are conjoined at the head. The novel spans from their impoverished childhood in Skopje to 2012 Skopje with some time spent in London. I completely escaped into their world for a few days and wondered why and how they made the decisions they made. Not only is the book about their own personal journey but also their country’s journey from communism to democracy. Beautifully written, kudos to author Lidija Dimkovska and translator Christina E. Kramer.


Sisterhood; identity; love (and the lack of it); families and not fitting in.

An Observation:

A Spare Life won the EU Prize for Literature in 2013.


β€œWhy would any parents name their children Srebra and Zlata- silver and gold- let alone children already marked by conjoined heads as freaks of nature in their community.”

β€œOur lack of physical independence was not the only impediment to our individuality.”

β€œMy moods shifted, and I noticed that I was thinking more and more about Macedonia, perhaps because of the still-raging conflict, or because I was thinking of motherhood, the language my children would speak, and the past behind me. I longed intensely for Skopje.”- I identified with these thoughts.


Want to read A Spare Life? Buy it here.

A Spare life

Written by Lidija Dimkovska

Translated from the Macedonian by Christina.E.Kramer

11/10/2016, Two Lines Press

ISBN: 9781931883559

#WITMonth for 2021 is curated by Jess Andoh-Thayre

I am 35, from London but currently living in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. I have lived in Tanzania, Chile, Spain and now Cambodia. I am married to a diplomat and we have been posted in Dar es Salaam πŸ‡ΉπŸ‡Ώ and now Phnom Penh πŸ‡°πŸ‡­. Prior to married life, I had also lived in La Serena, Chile and Madrid, Spain.

I am a French, Spanish and English teacher, translator, avid reader and now blogger. When I am not teaching, reading and blogging, I love seeing a brilliant sunset, swimming and hanging out with my husband and son.

Please follow me @jessandohthayre on Twitter and follow my book journey here.

Author: Lidija Dimkovska

Lidija Dimkovska was born in 1971 in Skopje, Macedonia and lives in Slovenia. She is a poet, novelist, and translator. In her native language she has published six books of poetry, three novels, and one American diary, and has edited three anthologies. Since 2017 she has been president of the jury for Slovenia’s Vilenica International Literary Prize. In 2016 Two Lines Press published her novel A Spare Life, longlisted for the Best Translated Book Award.

Translator: Christina E. Kramer

Christina E. Kramer is professor emerita at the University of Toronto. She is the author of numerous books on Macedonian language and the Balkans and a translator of Macedonian literature. She has received a National Endowment for the Arts Translation Fellowship for Dimkovska’s third novel, Grandma Non-Oui.

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