Year of publication
Number of pages
English (Dalkey Archive Press)
German (Paul Zsolnay Verlag)
English sample translation, German sample translation, French pdf
historical novel, 20th Century, World War II,human nature, passion, love, evil
In ljubezen tudi
And Love Itself
by Drago Jančar
After the occupation of Yugoslavia by German forces in 1941, the Slovenian city of Maribor, historically a German-speaking town with a large German minority, is annexed to the Third Reich. In the city renamed Marburg an der Drau, neighbours and friends of yesterday are torn apart and a resistance movement is organised in the surrounding hills.
The three characters at the heart of the novel, Valentin, a partisan resistance fighter, his girlfriend Sonja, and the SS officer Ludwig, once called Ludek, each try in their own way to defend their love from the senselessness of evil and the downfall of human dignity. The war upsets their perception of the world and of themselves and inevitably breaks their lives.
And Love Itself, the title taken from Lord Byron’s poem, is an astonishing tale of will and resilience of the human spirit against the backdrop of historical coincidences and tragedy. Jančar poses complex questions and exposes essential dilemmas faced by modern man in an expansive style that is interspersed with extraordinary lyrical inserts.
Kresnik Award for best novel of the year 2018
And Love Itself is not, as the title may suggest, a love story, nor is it a historical novel, it is first and foremost a novel about love. More than the story and the fate of a love and more than a story about war, in which love found itself, it is a novel of the solitary effort of an individual of how to protect this love and preserve it in spite of it all.
A superb novel, both sensual and serious.
Drago Jančar, one of the best European novelists, blends an important time in history with a history of a love to form the anatomy of horror.
Drago Jančar is a born storyteller.