Year of publication
Number of pages
Albania (Botimet Poeteka)
Austria (Septime Verlag)
North Macedonia (Blesok)
English pdf, German pdf
family, family relationships, domestic violence, abuse, misogyny, 1980s & 1980s, social changes
Stepchild (Life on Devil’s Land 1987-1990)
Stepchild is a story of a boy with an indifferent mother, an absent father and a narcissistic and brutal stepfather, a story of growing up in extremely harrowing circumstances. Hudolin’s story of domestic violence is hauntingly realistic because the author does not steer clear of the complex nature of experiences of an abused child, his fear and his hatred towards his stepfather on the one hand and fascination with his power on the other.
In addition to it being an intimate story of an unhappy family, the novel is also a social commentary. In the stepfather, who himself often says he is simply the Owner – of a pub, the land, its people, the world, words –, we can recognise a typical upstart, one emblematic of the transitional period from socialism to capitalism in Slovenia in the 1980s and 1990s. Though the story occurs at a time that is better remembered for its social and historical upheavals, Hudolin’s novel only deals with them enough to outline the nascent mentality of the late eighties and its determination to create a new social order.
Stepchild is a vivid and provocative tale of intimacy and social tragedy, suffused with wit that gives it a vitalistic sense of hope.
The inspired and well-crafted works of Jurij Hudolin are an introspection into life deepened and intensified through his constant search for meaning. Here is a writer whose every movement into literature challenges us out of our sentimental approaches to living. His merciless insights translate reality into what it used to be, taking us to the long-forgotten world where language, cultural roots, and human nature are experienced as vital parts of the republic of the self. Stepchild is a book that shows us what literature can be, a book that stays with you long after you have finished reading it.
Stepchild is one of the best 21st century novels from the region. An intimate story of a family and of a time, a story of living on devil’s land between 1987 and 1990.