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Autobiographical novel

Year of publication


Number of pages


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Croatia (Meandar Media)
Czech Republic (Kniha Zlin)


English sample translation, German sample translation


autobiography, reflections, human condition, death, faith, religion, freedom, love, writing

Kristalni čas

Crystalline Time

by Lojze Kovačič

Kovačič wrote Crystalline Time in the years before Slovenian independence, when disease pushed him to the brink “between the illusion of death and the illusion of life”. Bed-ridden, Kovačič would note down his emotions daily, and, as the scope of these notes grew, they evolved into the writer’s confrontation with himself, a recapitulation of his experiences and an insightful self-reflection. In this autobiographical novel written in the form of journal entries, Kovačič returns to the past that he had captured in his earlier works through the eyes of a boy and a young man, this time seeing it from the palimpsestic perspective of a mature, wise man on his way out. 

Crystalline Time is thus a mosaic-like autobiographical novel of extended reflections on events and people that shaped the author and his work, as well as essayistic sections, anecdotes and critical portraits of contemporaries. According to the author, the novel is a “document of the soul”, in which he confronts the present while examining different periods of his life. It is at once a candid personal testament and a literary masterpiece of the highest order, exploring universal themes of death, faith and religion, love in all its forms, and writing as “the only excuse for living”.

Recipient of the Silver Kresnik Award - award for best Slovenian novel of the last 25 years


Kresnik Award for best novel of the year 1991

Silver Kresnik Award 2016 for best Slovenian novel of the last 25 years


  • Slovenian literature reached its peak with Kovačič's Proustian project, and together with Newcomers and Five Fragments Crystalline Time is its most powerful literary epitome.

    Tomo Virk, Slovenian literary historian and essayist
  • Autobiographical prose is rarely as well written – in this novel, Lojze Kovačič is a master of his craft.  ... Crystalline Time is a tribute to writing, to personal battles, memories and courage to reveal your personal growth to readers. But also, above all, to the author himself. Who allowed all his stars to shine and all his abysses to open. Exquisite.

  • Kovačič's artistic reflections on himself and the human condition in general, on love as a determinant and a source of constant fervour, on authors, their conscience and imperfections, on their limitations and failures to portray themselves and those around them, his reflections on the sanctity of intimacy in a communal context, on freedom and on dogma, as well as restrained views on mystical transcendence – suffuse the novel in countless masterful and poetic fragments with tremendous force.

    1991 Kresnik Award jury
  • Crystalline Time is a literary masterpiece and Kovačič is Slovenia’s most significant author of the 20th century.

    Tina Vrščaj, member of the Silver Kresnik Award Jury

More books by Lojze Kovačič