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young adults, students, summer job, growing up, prejudice, immigrants, minorities, gender issues

Poletje v gostilni

A Summer in Service

by Lara Paukovič

Nastja, a bright and promising student, looks for a summer job to earn some extra money. Her high-flying ideals and ideas come crashing down when she can’t find work in her areas of expertise and instead has to take a job at a Serbian restaurant on the outskirts of Ljubljana. There she finds herself in the middle of everything that is, in her view, wrong with the world: misspelled wine names on menus, soft-sounding ć’s and hard-sounding l’s typically used by migrants from other countries of former Yugoslavia … What leaves her totally deflated is that even though she is a budding intellectual with a vast vocabulary of Latin sayings in her arsenal, she finds herself in a position where her skills are of no help in dealing with everyday problems and situations at the inn. To make matters worse, she has to admit that in spite of all her principles and opinions, she is starting to fall in love with one of the waiters working there.

A Summer in Service is an entertaining, humorous yet thoughtful story of growing up, of experiences that shake our perceptions of the world and of realising that things and people seem very different when judging them from a distance. Lara Paukovič intertwines universal themes with issues concerning gender and women, and challenges facing girls and young women.


  • Nastja’s character is constructed precisely through her facing various stereotypes, the author digs under her surface and exposes her, however, she never becomes overly didactic … The depth of Nastja’s character and her development are Paukovič’s strong points in this novel.

  • The setting of two colliding worlds, the world of phony cosmopolitism and the grounded world of immigrants, is promising, containing all the elements necessary for an entertaining read.

    Primorske novice
  • A novel that unabashedly exposes the xenophobic, chauvinist and patriarchal aspects of the modern society in which the protagonist is growing up …

    Radio Slovenija 1